How can HR help with innovation?

How can HR help with innovationAs with any change or habit you want to embody within your organization you need to line up incentives appropriately with the desired outcome. If Innovation is a priority then organizations need to measure it and reward behaviour that aligns with these measurements.  Identify which innovation measurements are suitable for your organization (http://www.spring2innovation.com/2012/06/innovation-measurements/)

Encourage making mistakes and learning from them. Perhaps a better way of expressing that is to say allow for people to make mistakes, own up to them and move forward having experimented and tried something different.  This will involve getting senior executives and other stakeholders to allow room for their team members to fail and learn from their mistakes.

Culture is a key component of successful corporations, divisions, products and services.  For all organizations the surest way to create culture change is from the top. You want to ensure that your employees are engaged, sharing, collaborating and having fun! Not everything we do at work can be fun but if people are engaged and passionate about what they are doing it makes for a much healthier environment. .

Diversity is something that has been in the news quite a bit in the last decade and there are a number of reasons behind it. Whether it is involving people from other departments, employing people from different cultural backgrounds, ages or gender, diversity brings in different approaches to handling situations, interacting and developing. Another way to inject diversity is through working closer with vendors and customers. They have different experiences and exposure to other markets which you may not have access to.

The latest difference makers:

One thing that is less well known and hasn’t been mentioned as much is how Human Resource departments can assist in innovation through bringing in software tools for innovating, sometimes referred to as idea management tools. These tools are either applications for desktops or a portal where people can input ideas or build on top of others’ ideas. If you haven’t look at these I highly encourage you to take a look at them.

Another alternative is to work with organizations that have crowd sourcing solutions (where focused challenges are posed to the public – there is a reward and timeline put in place for responses).  There are also many government organizations around the world using crowd sourcing.  One example is getting citizens to do work (with clear guidelines) that a municipality would traditionally pay for. At the same time make it fun (through gamification).  For example, getting citizens to report potholes throughout the city or testing out reflection capability of signs around the city with cell phones. The more tests a person conducts the higher they are on the citizen scoreboard.

All of these can have a big impact on your organization. Think about which one you want to focus on this year and start building strategies on bringing the others in.