Innovation is primarily a social thing. Really. While processes are important, ideas come from interactions between and among humans. At the 2nd Open Innovation Summit and at the BIF-6 conference this came through loud and clear. The most fundamental asset a company has is its humans. So, wouldn’t you think the organization assigned to maximize (20th century business = manage) that resource is critical to a company’s success?
Companies are good at managing tangible, concrete, known assets, and they try to manage humans the same way. Business schools, corporate training etc. don’t do well teaching us how to ‘manage’ or ‘measure’ social assets – to train, support, and enable people to create the social networks that enable the flow of knowledge, not the storage of knowledge, needed for innovation. Hence, the current debate on whether big companies can really innovate again.
Well, what kind of things could HR start to do? HR can: