Thursday, 19 November 2009

Workshop w10 Building Innovation Capability

Building Innovation Capability

Facilitated by Ian Plover & Cris Beswick

22 people in the workshop where there were spaces for 32, strange as innovation is a key theme for many at the moment, I would have thought the session would have been full (31 people were expected)

Cris works in Innovation, Ian in Change management

Notes, flipcharts and other materials that are developed on the day will be sent to us later.

Ian gave the story of a former MD at Anglian Water that was your typical MD – unassuming, then took some time out & went to Harvard. When he returned he was gushing with ideas and drove change through involvement and participation.

Innovation as a tool – the challenge is to create an org that can thrive in a rapidly changing world.

Who feels that they work in an innovative org? many feel that they have innovation IN their org but not as a whole

Innovation is often seen as product or service and it is often seen to have covert teams at the top level that are innovative.

How do we increase or capacity for innovation?

To use innovation – we need to understand it.

1) innovation is not the sole domain of R&D, high tech industries or specialists

2) is not about being first

3) not about being the biggest and best

Innovation is about diversity – about people. Innovation comes from how we mix stuff together.

GM spent $8B on innovation/ R&D and they went bust – that is $1/4M per employee – but they did not innovate internally.

Strategy-people-community-physical environment-creativity-risk-leadership

Strategy – it has to be core of what we do. The word “innovation” has been bastardised by marketing teams which no longer add value. What we need to do is to pump people some value into innovation

Do you have a HR strategy? A business strategy – are they aligned?

People – as an MD I want great people – if we have poor people I want them out-quickly

Community – I want people thinking of the community in the org – doing things for other teams, not just their own – its about more than “culture” – Jim Collins – how can you be a help to others

Environment – Tom Peter – “cultivate great talent by creating great places to work-eliminate cubical slavery” look at Google, they have done things to make the workspace a place people want to be

Creativity – creativity is not about designers & wacky stuff – its about thinking differently – 20% time in Google – 20% of their time to work on ‘stuff’ they feel is the next….. this is Google giving people “white space” in their diaries. How can we give people time to help think differently? Create the environment and the time to use it.

RISK – the big one…. Risk is all relative – if we want people to be creative, if we want – mark Twain ”if you always do what you have always done..” If you don’t risk anything you risk everything. Risk is about what R&D do and call prototyping – they rarely get it right first time – they take risks, they have time for risks – but the final output is proven. Google “to organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible & useful” leadership is key to drive the vision.

Customers need to put the label “innovation” on something – not the creators…


The “Human Beings” department – rarely have I heard of HR & innovation mentioned in the same sentence

Thers is something about HR – we get on with the job and hide our lights under a bush. That is a shame as HR people are more innovative and we need to tell our businesses what we have done. If we want to be a real “business partner” we cannot wait for people to ask us – we need to take the imitative. You often see a FD on the right hand side of the MD – you rarely see HR on the left hand side.

12 yrs ago Ulrich said HR needs to be in 4 areas, HR are no good at selling ourselves – we need to learn the language of finance and marketing. David’s (Ulrich) message has never really be understood – HR has focused on T&C of work, it should be T&C of the work place. The only people that can make HR a business partner is for us to invite ourselves to the table – lead by doing and using business language.
HR is often seen as transactional, and until we change this we will never be a real “BP”
Interesting session – innovation in the org and political commentary about our role – innovation is a reason to be invited to the org

HR & Strategy

HR & People

HR & Community

HR & Environment – physical & psychological

HR & Creativity – how often are people allowed & told they are creative

HR & Risk – not about putting people lives at risk

HR & Leadership

Ulrick change agent is about changing the org in the area of human capital

Change through people not through gantt charts. No-one else in an org has the ability to change people like HR have.
Group task – brainstorm innovative areas – what great innovations have your done yourself, come across of heard of - nominate someone to feedback not to us but to everyone else in the room. – the ideas will be sent to us later.

Some innovative ideas –

1 + 3 = 5 one person carried 2 roles CEO & ops director (mat cover) devolved her roles to 3 managers where they did 5 months each, and the OPPs mgr on maternity was available to each of the managers. At the end of the period the company had significantly increased its Human capital
Confidence and competency

Keep-in-touch – diverse locations where people don’t meet, use of touch screen tech to allow people more access to intranets and social networks for people that are IT resistant

Proudly received – proudly given – a drive to share ideas openly

People want to be involved more – dialogue or monologue?

Incremental or radical innovation

If you put in the reward system people are more inclined to participate (but what is reward – we need to look at this) – In Qatar they pay managers extra to coach employees and the reward suggestion schemes with high value rewards – multiples of salary!

Tesco – where managers go “back to the floor” on a regular basis

We are about to go for a break – when you come back – leave your ‘HR’ hat outside and come back with a line manager hat on, without all the limitations of HR policy, regulations etc.

As managers – tell me what I can do – not what I cannot do

Exercise to build a culture where people want to work for and your customers want to spend money for.
We were given a scenario and asked to explore that in the context of the 7 steps from a business perspective – the what not the how at this stage.
Groups shared their thinking and ideas. This material will be “codified” and sent to us – I’ll add it here when we get it.
One concept that came up was based on the concept that Jim Collins mentioned which was to have a “not to do list” and from an L&D perspective and talent management perspectives what about having a “do not develop” list
DRAFT post

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