40,000 years of change

2001 A Space Odyssey’s opening scene ends with the longest jump cut in history: from an early hominid throwing a bone to a space station flying above Earth.

It is change on an enormous scale. From one human tool to another.

A problem now is how corporate innovation and change does not make that jump. Some departments are in the Space Age and some in the Stone Age.

An organisation cannot succeed unless skills and knoweldge are available to all people, not just an elite or a specialist profession.

Innovation in depth

Agile management and design thinking are key ideas in the development of organisations that can deliver new products and services rapidly in digital and physical markets.

However, the ideas are often ring fenced tightly. Only certain departments are run in these new ways. This creates tensions and stresses within organisations that will only get greater as time passes.

Innovation in depth means all staff and all departments using new techniques.

An organisation cannot be successful if one department are flying in the Space Age and the others are held in the Stone Age.

Innovating HR

Probably the most important professional area that needs to leverage the new skills and techniques is Human Resources (HR). A successful organisation must align its recruitment and retention practices with the Agile techniques used by the product design, development and engineering departments.

This change is fundamental. HR must share a common language as well as a common set of managment tools to enable success. This is about shared intent and knowledge.

The right tool at the right time

However, this cannot be a simple application of tools developed for one profession lifted and dumped onto another profession. Agile is a software development methodology that cannot be implanted into HR without it being rejected.

The tools, the methods, the ways of thinking and the language used must be understood and apdapted to be useful.

Innovation Labs for Human Resources

This is why there are a new type of Innovation Labs running in the UK.

The Future of Work labs started in November 2015 and the next one is on 29th February.

The labs are a way to adapt and develop the new tools for Human Resources through sharing skills and experiences.

Guided by 3 facilitators, participants explore the new techniques and then apply them to their own areas of interest. They adapt and make the new tools by doing and making.

Using both talks and practical exercises, the one day workshop is a way of making the jump. Learning techniques, breaking jargon apart and applying them to future human resources and recruitment problems.

I really enjoyed this workshop. It was a great overview of key challenges posed to businesses by the growing impact of digital for organisations, their people and us as HR Directors. The workshop had a good balance of practical exercises, thought leadership in presentations and opportunities to network with other professionals.

HR Director feedback

Come along to next one or tell a colleague about it.

Innovation is for everyone and success is in sharing the skills across organisations.



Sensory Design Consultant, usability researcher and workshop facilitator. www.linkedin.com/in/alastair-somerville-b48b368 Twitter @acuity_design & @visceralUX

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