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An innovation recourse for the human resource

Wednesday, February 11, 2015 - 17:16

By Hamish Williams

While it may be increasingly difficult for organisations to achieve competitive advantage through cost, service and quality, the good news is that sustainable advantage is also available through innovation. While no single innovation lasts forever, what can last for a long time is the advantage created by fostering what the Australian Institute of Management has called “superior systematic innovation capability.”

To develop this capability, innovation needs to be the key focus of the organisation, as is the case in leading innovation-oriented organisations such as Apple, Google and Samsung. Developing an innovation orientation allows your firm to win the “war for talent” because truly innovative minds will be attracted to organisations which are ahead of the pack in their ability to innovate for the future.

AIM Research determined across a range of metrics exactly what makes a company an “innovation leader” or an “innovation lagger” and then investigated how these opposite ends of the innovation spectrum approached their HR practices. Innovation leaders have their human resource strategy much more closely aligned to their overall business strategy than innovation laggers and generally place a much higher importance on every aspect of the overall HR strategy.

These companies develop long term innovation capability by articulating desirable employee capabilities in order to guide the recruitment and selection process. Training, development and performance appraisal systems generally all include measures of employee contributions to innovation while being tied to remuneration and rewards.

The challenge for those wishing to lift their innovativeness is to strengthen their HRM practices in the knowledge that ‘people innovate’ and hence must be given the skills and motivation to do so. It is one thing to commit to these initiatives at a board and senior executive level but AIM’s research has shown that the most innovative companies have dedicated staff for developing innovation capability.

AIM offers a dedicated short course titled Implementing Innovation and Continuous Improvement which gives managers the opportunity to develop skills in innovative thinking while identifying, analysing and driving opportunities for organisational improvement. Participants are equipped with practical strategies to identify improvement opportunities and stimulate innovation to address performance gaps.

With over 82 short courses and qualifications available, AIM has the training solutions to equip managers with the tools they need for success. For information on how to enroll please visit www.aim.com.au/courses