The Reality of Talent: HR and Innovation

by External18 Jun 2012

Six tools for building workplace innovation


Learning options

Benefits and advice

Trial and error An effective way to learn about being innovative by being given the chance to try a new skill or activity, in a controlled situation, and learning from mistakes.


Provides opportunities to learn about risks and to learn what can go wrong – why, and what can be done about it. Requires good supervision and the attitude in the business that if you don’t make some mistakes, you are not learning.

Challenging assignments Taking on direct responsibility for an innovation or new project.

Provides an opportunity to learn and to develop special expertise around project management skills. The employee needs to be supported with access to advice and possibly additional training.

Reviewing successes and failures Helpful in analysing and planning for future success. This can be done individually or ideally, with the full team involved in the project.

Provides an opportunity for leaders to share their knowledge and experience with each other. Needs to be managed in a way that promotes openness, sharing and active listening of others’ views.

Appropriate delegation Delegation provides an efficient use of resources, increases multi-skilling and builds more empowered cultures.

Makes those given the responsibility build their knowledge and skills. Can be linked with secondment and job rotation across the business. However, the limits of any delegation need to be clearly defined.

Coaching A more experienced business person encourages the development of specific new skills or knowledge.

Assists new or less experienced business leaders to learn specific skills quickly. A good coach asks questions that encourage and challenge but coaches need to be carefully selected and trained.

Networking, workshops and site visits Help to grow the number and variety of people that business leaders feel they can approach to get things done or to overcome roadblocks around projects.

Helps gain access to new information and support. Need to be strategic in the choices of networks, workshops and places or companies to visit to maximise exposure to innovative products and services.

Source: Innovation and Business Skills Australia -


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