January 24, 2012 by Neil
One of the biggest problems within the HR profession, is a lack of innovation. By this I don’t mean harebrained schemes dreamed up in those horrible “away days” that come to nothing, or worse, that actually come to something…….pointless. I mean true innovation. The creation of new and different ways of thinking about situations, and the definition of exciting future realities.
Because we worry too much about “the practicalities”. The moment that anyone starts to suggest ideas, to progress thoughts that are maybe slightly out of the everyday is also the moment that others start to provide reasons why it wouldn’t be possible.
Because we have to deal with practicalities right? We have to take into account the reality?
Yes. And no.
You see the problem with staying rooted to the practicalities is that you are anchoring your reality to the now, to the understood and known and therefore any solution you pitch will also fall into the understood and the known. It won’t be a game changer, it won’t radically alter anything. It will be humdrum.
When you frame your thinking in the ordinary, your solutions will be ordinary.
Now I know that at this point people will start telling me that there have been innovative solutions for mundane problems. Think Velcro, think Tippex, think Elastoplast. But innovation that shifts our paradigm does so because it pays no account to practicalities….it redefines them.
Think the internet. Think the steam engine. Think the transistor.
These are not answers to problems; these are enhancements to society. If we accept the workplace is a community, then we too should be striving for innovative enhancements rather than tactical solutions. Not every idea that we ever come up with will fly, but if we stop worrying about the here and the now and start defining the future, we’re more likely to find a shining jewel.
Practicality is the enemy of innovation.