The Reality of Talent: HR and Innovation

by External18 Jun 2012

Execution of ideas

Not every idea will be worthy of following through, but for those that are, it’s worthwhile considering how commercial outcomes can be achieved.

Here are four keys to executing an idea effectively:


  1. Consider a dedicated innovation team to rally, assess, and formulate plans to execute on ideas, as well as a change management team to formalise what needs to happen to ensure the idea bears tangible fruit.
  2. Show agility – that ability to move quickly and be adaptable; to grasp the problem, move on it and constantly explore all the different angles that will resolve the issue and keep execution plans on track.
  3. Encourage healthy debate – leaders who are constantly asking questions, probing, showing interest, and encouraging ‘qualified’ risk-taking help to encourage open dialogue throughout the organisation. Communication channels should be open enough so that participants can easily seek help from others.
  4. Supply appropriate resources – the same level of energy, resource commitment, skills and experience that went into the discovery and development of innovation needs to also be applied to the execution phase.


A final note: Thinking beyond the workplace

Leaving Bangalore one evening during the monsoon season, Tata Group Chairman Ratan Tata warned his driver to take care on the slippery roads. Moments later a motorcycle carrying a family of four slid in front of Tata’s car. Fortunately no one was seriously injured, but it got Tata thinking: what if a safe, affordable form of transportation could be developed that would cost little more than a motorcycle? The result was the Tata Nano, a US$2,100 car produced by Tata Motors.

The genesis of the idea came from somewhere deeper than commercial considerations: a desire to help others, to solve a problem that matters.

HR can start the process by asking what’s noble and heroic about what their people do. Once the cause is identified, HR must build a compelling business case for managers, which shows why a noble cause is essential in motivating people to engage. Then, working with managers, it’s important to ensure every employee has a direct line of sight to the cause.

As an example, IBM has adopted a concept known as ‘Smarter Planet’. IBM believes our world is becoming more instrumented (lots of gadgets), more interconnected (lots of networks linking things), and more intelligent (lots of data to make decisions that effect real change). IBM works with governments and business across various industries, using IT to improve natural and man-made systems in areas as varied as healthcare, natural resources, transport, and banking. Buy-in has been achieved because employees know they are contributing to issues much larger than themselves, their company, and their industry.


Further information

For further information or to obtain a hardcopy of this white paper, contact Rick Khinda, director, marketing & communications at Adecco Australia/New Zealand: 

T: 03 9954 2100

D: 03 9954 2177


M: 0438 301 241



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