HR Professional - September 2013 - (Page 41)

Innovation MIND THE GAP INSPIRING THE RIGHT HUMAN DYNAMICS, CONNECTIONS AND CREATIVITY TO BUILD AN INNOVATIVE ORGANIZATION BY ELISA O’DONNELL When asked how innovative your company is, you may find two different answers depending on who you ask. Often times, employees point fingers at their management team for squelching innovation while leaders feel like they are doing a great deal. In fact, according to research from Development Dimension International, leaders think they’re doing much better than employees do when it comes to leading innovation. This perception gap masks disconnects between the rallying cry of innovation and the existing organizational system in which innovation needs to happen. Understanding the gaps in the organizational system and how to bridge them is critical in enabling a dynamic, innovative culture, and one that leads to real market breakthrough and impactful business results. A couple of ways to address this idea potential gap include: • Creating metrics that are more expansive than ROI; e.g., metrics for effort, failure and what gets dropped as well as what gets out into market. Also performance systems that encourages creative inquiry and exploration versus having the right answer. • Building skills in creative idea development—overcoming the hurdles while preserving the intriguing aspects of the idea and a mindset that defers evaluation until the idea is strengthened. This also includes skills in helping people visualize or experience an idea; e.g., through storyboarding and prototyping, allowing an innovation team to fail fast and cheaply. THE IDEA POTENTIAL GAP Often, there is a trust gap between leaders and employees. Trust is derived from interactions and experiences over time. It is also about a personal field between individuals—and defines the nature of their relationships (i.e., supportive or punishing). It is not something that can be easily quantified yet is something easily felt or missed. Trust is also about personal risk—if there is no trust, there is no risk taking. Time represents another gap. Executives provide the rallying cry for innovation, put it in the corporate mission statements and declare it a core value. However, they often don’t give employees time—structured or The scenario goes something like this: an innovation team conducts an ideation session and everyone gets excited because they generate some really great ideas that they believe have huge potential. Yet, by the time the idea gets launched, it has become watered down, less risky, less appealing and so its impact is also diminished. Why did this happen? Rather than being nurtured along the way to execution, the idea was subjected to a “system of bureaucracy,” handoffs, and decision-making that did not enable the kind of risk taking that could lead to breakthrough. Leaders THE ORGANIZATIONAL ENVIRONMENT GAP may have been too quick in asking the innovation team how the ideas can drive immediate impact without first exploring what could be achieved in the longer term. Further, organizational resistance causes team members to lose passion around the idea and confidence for taking a risk. They instead default to the path of least resistance; making decisions to force fit the idea into the existing system versus using the idea as a springboard to drive something new. H R PROM AG .C OM S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 3 41 http://www.HRPROMAG.COM

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of HR Professional - September 2013

Editor’s Letter
Leadership Matters
Upfront
Legal Words
Benefits
Embracing Loss: Succession Planning for Sudden Departures
Motivating Gen Y
Looking Ahead 10 Years: Top Challenges Facing HR
Making Connections for Immigrant HR Professionals
Interview with an HR Hero: Rod Jackson, MPP
Innovation
Off the Shelf
The Last Word

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