HR guru throws lifebelt to business

The
future driver of business success is entrepreneurship, not the traditional
focus on increasing market share and making business efficiencies.

This
was the view of senior HR professionals at the USHR Forum on board the QE2,
outside New York. They want to develop workforces capable of generating big
ideas.

Professor
Gary Hamel, the corporate strategist and author, warned 400 of America’s top HR
executives last week that it is not enough to work harder or make their
companies more efficient. The solution is to learn how to be profoundly
different by being innovative and revolutionary.

Intangible
assets such as innovation, organisational culture and strategic capabilities
now acc-ount for as much as 85 per cent of stockmarket value for many US firms,
he said. Those companies striving for continuous improvements and greater
efficiency – as opposed to the next big idea – are doing less well in
stockmarket terms.

Hamel
urged delegates to challenge old beliefs and "think outside the box".

Oil
giant Shell and home appliance manufacturer Whirlpool are pioneering this
approach by building internal markets in which staff are encouraged to test out
new projects.

"The
future is about differentiation, and size is no longer a defining issue,"
he said.

"Capture
new wealth by being innovative and ask yourself if the voice of imagination is
as loud as the voice of experience.    

"Market
share is dead. It is no longer about best practice. If you want to increase
your share of wealth you’re going to have to reboot and rethink your strategy
at a quicker pace."

Hamel
spoke of three new types of capital – intellectual, structural and financial –
and claimed that HR is at the centre of all three.

He
warned that many companies are threatened by their traditional ways of doing
business.

By
Jane King

Words
of wisdom on innovation


Strengthen the muscle of employees to innovate


Encourage workers to violate deeply-held beliefs


Cultivate the mind of a heretic


Teach people to be novelty addicts – put them in situations where the future is
happening


Be where the next generation of customers is and know them well


Assume everyone is responsible for radical thinking, not just those at the top


Encourage internal markets for employees to develop new projects


Invest in teaching people to be corporate activists

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