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How relevant is talent for innovation?

By Culture, Talent No Comments

How relevant is talent for innovation?
Today, every organisation is working on innovation. There are tons of blogs, books and articles out there. There are labs, training programs and accelerators, but life isn’t getting easier for corporate innovators. Not so much, or in fact, very little attention is paid to innovation talent.

From our everyday practice, we get the clear impression that it is hard for companies to find the right people and it is also difficult to retain talent. Frequently we hear innovators being dissatisfied within their roles and with the corporate landscape. A Capgemini study found that getting the right people is actually a key constraint to innovation success.

What’s remarkable is that while working with startups, we see that the one thing that always stands out the most to investors is the team, whereas in corporate innovation there is a lot of talk about organisation, methods, processes and management.

We all know that in corporate innovation a great team will also make a difference, and that many projects are slowed down or killed by teams not performing well. As Eric Ries himself puts it,  a startup is ‘a human institution designed to create a new product or service under conditions of extreme uncertainty’.

As a former intrapeneur and coach to intrapreneurs, I am convinced that the motivation and passion of innovators is the key success factor. They need to have a ‘Founder’s Mentality’ (Bain & company). Founders are the ones operating under conditions of extreme uncertainty, fighting the battles, and pushing forward on a daily basis. Talent are the special forces in your organisation, and special forces need to be trained – continuously. They can only succeed in their tasks when the team members are motivated and fit.

What can you do about it? One way is to equip talented innovators with the right skill-set and mindset and to connect them with peers so they can share their challenges and frustrations. Learning is among the largest drivers of employee engagement and strong workplace culture, and not merely a way to build skills.

A new type of employee learning is emerging that is more “consumerlike” and that brings together design thinking, content curation and an integrated model offering an end-to-end designed learning experience (Deloitte, Global Human Capital Report). This is exactly what we are developing for innovators.

We call it ONTREK. Trekking is a journey undertaken in areas where there are usually no means of transport available, usually on uncharted paths, in challenging environments. It’s just like innovating and you can be part of this adventure. Contact us and ask for ONTREK.