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Human Resource Executive Online

Tapping into Employee Creativity

December 7, 2011


Using assessment tools, individuals are able to understand their innovation style -- and HR leaders have critical information about how innovation teams can successfully innovate. CPP author Damian Killen elaborates on research he and his colleague Gareth Williams conducted into the relationship between innovation and personality type, and the practical application of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®) assessment.

Innovation is in every company's DNA; they just need innovation teams – groups committed to innovation that recognize the strengths, limitations and natural biases of its members and others, and accept these differences in order to achieve together.

To truly grasp innovation and discover how every individual can bring something to the innovation table, it is important to know the four main categories of ideas:

  • Efficiency – Efficiency ideas entail doing things the right way. These under-the-radar developments are less obvious to the outside world and bring incremental change. Continuous improvement processes are good examples of Efficiency ideas being used to improve a situation.
  • Refining – Refining ideas are about doing something better and often making life easier. Where Efficiency ideas are more about an end result, Refining ideas focus on the process.
  • Adopting – Adopting ideas occur when a company imports an initiative, typically from another sector, to solve a challenge or create a new product.
  • Different – Different ideas are the rare projects that no one else has thought of before and have few, if any, predecessors or roots to trace. These ideas often meet resistance, especially in organizations with "not-invented-here" syndrome.

Once HR understands the people with whom they have to work, the department must have the right process for utilizing its human capital. HR must convince C-level executives to go through four phases of the innovation process – Define, Discover, Decide and Deliver – and eschew any inclination to take shortcuts to get offerings to market quicker

By grasping the innovation strengths of existing and potential employees, companies ensure they make the most of their workforce. More importantly, they tap into their innovation DNA and realize their full potential.

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