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WP_Innovation -The Next Frontier in the Human Capital Agenda_Jennifer Moss_Bellevue University_04pg

WP_Innovation -The Next Frontier in the Human Capital Agenda_Jennifer Moss_Bellevue University_04pg

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Published by: Giancarlo Colombo on May 28, 2010
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The Next Frontier in theHuman Capital Agenda?
by Jennier A. Moss, Ph.D.Director, Bellevue University’s Human Capital Lab
“Innovation – Te Next Frontier in the Human Capital Agenda?” | Jennifer A. Moss, Ph.D.
© 2010 Bellevue University. All rights reserved. Page 2
Innovation is a topic currently at the oreront o business leaders’ minds. Te December2009 issue o 
Harvard Business Review 
and a recent study, “Te Innovator’s DNA,” botheatured innovation and characteristics o innovators. o understand how innovation mightimpact the growing human capital agenda, the ollowing questions should be taken intoconsideration: Are innovators more valuable to organizations?
Should everyone within an organization innovate?
I innovation is truly disruptive, how much disruptive activity can an
organization tolerate?I innovation is an element o human capital, how do we identiy and measure it?
“Te Innovator’s DNA” study ound that in the most innovative companies, the seniorexecutives did not delegate innovation. Rather, they were innovative. Tis nding supportsthe notion that organizations can tolerate only a ew innovators, and the rest should all inline with innovators’ visions. A concrete understanding o whether this notion is accurate or most or all organizations would simpliy the human capital agenda. Te study ocused on entrepreneurs, viewed tobe true innovators, and their personal characteristics. Once these entrepreneurs developeda new idea, they ound like-minded individuals to join in the implementation o the idea. As companies grow, these entrepreneurs need to bring in workers who can maintain thebusiness. With only the top rung o the organization innovating, the remaining workorce ison board to create ecient processes, build scalability, and monitor the work. When senior leadership is responsible or innovation, this doesn’t mean the sta and line workers, middle management, and even emerging leaders cannot innovate. However, broadly declaring an organization as “innovative” might give some the impression they have carteblanch to venture down their own path, which is the disruptive part o innovation.Innovation engages the right side o the brain, or the creative side. Tis type o right-brainstimulation motivates workers and creates energy and enthusiasm within the workplace.However, there must be a happy medium where everyone within the organization usesinnovative skills, yet stays on task enough to not upset the apple cart. In the human capitalagenda, this is the process that should occur. In order to implement this process, learningleaders must have a sound understanding o the ve skills innovative leaders posses to createtraining and education programs that oster these specic skills.
Five Skills of Innovative Leaders
Te DNA o innovative leaders can be summarized into ve skills: Associating
 All o these skills can be learned, which means innovation can be developed in employeesand ostered in organizations. From a human capital perspective, the questions become:“How can we encourage innovation in our organization?” and “What is the impact o aninnovative culture?”
 In the most innovativecompanies, the senior executivesdid not delegateinnovation. Rather, they wereinnovative.
- The Innovator’s DNA study
“Innovation – Te Next Frontier in the Human Capital Agenda?” | Jennifer A. Moss, Ph.D.
© 2010 Bellevue University. All rights reserved. Page 3
is the ability to apply ideas and concepts rom one situation to another. Asdened, human capital is one’s transerable and cumulative knowledge, skills, and experience.For example, what one learns at a rst job will help him or her unction more eectively in a second job. Organizations should attempt to recruit individuals with vastly dierentbackgrounds and industry experience to create more opportunities or associating within the workplace.
Tis means simply being curious enough to ask why something works. oask questions, employees must eel sae and high levels o trust must be present. Employeesmust understand that asking questions will not be perceived as ignorance or inexperience.Te more employees can learn in the workplace, the more the organization builds its humancapital.
Conscious o it or not, we continually observe ellow workers and customers’body language (75 percent o all communication), behaviors, habits, strengths, and weaknesses. What we do with that knowledge is powerul. Using our observations to makeinormed decisions and calibrate our own behaviors utilizes our human capital. Imagine a workorce o customer-acing employees skilled at observing. How might that: 1) impact ourcustomer service agenda, 2) impact confict within organizations, and 3) streamline decision-making processes? 
Experimentation is a mindset bent on seeing how things work. Once weknow how things work in one scenario, we can insert new variables into the equation to seeimpact. Experimentation is largely lacking in most U.S. organizations, outside o the R &D group. Experimentation is the disruptive nature o innovation. However, i organizations want to grow, they must embrace some level o experimentation. Learning organizationscreate an experimental environment or employees because collectively, the organization canlearn just as much rom ailure as success.
Te last o the innovative skills might be the most important as it createsopportunities or the other our. Internal and external networking have been empirically linked to many positive outcomes or employees, and now it’s essential or innovation.Networking allows employees to cross-pollinate with other industries, markets, and mindsetsand to use this knowledge to the organizations advantage. Organizations need to create andreinorce policies that encourage networking because it may be the simplest way to increaseinnovation within an organization.Innovation might be the next rontier on the human capital landscape. Innovation can beencouraged by organizations and ostered in individuals at no cost. Te potential ROI o innovation might astound organizational leaders since the cost is negligible, and any returnis benet. I learning leaders purposeully encourage the ve elements o innovation, we’d seeour collective human capital increase. As many CEOs declare, “Our people are our greatestasset.” Increasing those assets then becomes an imperative.I you’re ready to learn more about enhancing your human capital agenda andcorporate learning initiatives, seeCorporateLearning.comor call 877-824-5516. VisitHumanCapitalLab.orgor original research and leading-edge analytics on the impact o learning on human capital.
 Learning leadersmust have a sound understanding o the fve skills o innovative leaders tocreate training and education programsthat oster these specifc skills.

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