The Innovative HR Leader
Economic downturns increase the importance of innovation. Sure, cost-cutting to survive today is critical, but companies have to plant seeds for future growth even as the ground may be getting pulled out from under them. After all, the increasing pace of change means that standing still is equivalent to falling further behind.
Human resource leaders have a vital role to play in accelerating their organizations' innovation efforts. Specifically, they can speed up innovation efforts by addressing areas that typically cause well-intentioned organizations to struggle. Don't know where to start? Consider the four questions below.
1. Does the organization have a common definition of innovation?
Innovation can mean different things to different people. If an organization does not agree on a common definition of innovation, too much will get lost in translation. Imagine a team trying to launch a new growth business where half of the team members speak Spanish and half speak Swedish. How well would they be able to communicate?
A common language spurs productive conversations and meaningful actions. Consider Intel. In the late 1990s, Harvard Business School Professor and Innosight co-founder Clayton Christensen made 20 separate trips to Intel to educate managers on findings emerging from his research. Today, Christensen estimates that managers used the concepts to launch businesses that contribute close to $15 billion in revenues.