Managing ideas is the key to a successful firm

The way in which companies harness new ideas will be key to their success as
the economy picks up – and HR needs to support this.

Rick Wills, chairman of the London Eye Company, told delegates that
organisations must become better at generating and managing new ideas, and
stressed that HR has a key role to play.

Launching new initiatives will require companies to have a real
understanding of doing things differently. This will involve both people
issues, and what Wills calls ‘hard’ issues.

The hard issues include the following processes: generating ideas, filtering
the ideas and putting the best ideas into practice. He calls the people who
launch new ideas ‘extrapreneurs’.

But he also said to enable extrapreneurs to flourish, the HR department
needs to be open-minded. It must ensure a new way of working, which might
involve flat structures and different reward systems.

The challenge for HR, he said, is to understand what the differences are
that are required. HR departments also need to be brave enough to bring people
in from outside.

"HR must spot the need and where best to attract and motivate the
talent," Wills said.

"The HR director needs to be the advocate of this to the CEO. This is a
chance for HR to take a lead," he added.

Taking it all on board: HR soundbites from the Aurora…

Will Hutton, chief executive at
The Work Foundation:

”Ethics is more than best practice. We are talking about going
back to basics and asking, "What is a company for?"’

Professor Bob Garratt, visiting
professor in corporate governance, Imperial College, London:

"Senior HR people should hang around bars at conferences
like this to help them understand what the wider world is doing. HR directors
need to get out more."

Neil Haywood, HR and change
director at business services company Serco:

"My premise is that organisations that develop a
distinctive approach to change, achieve a competitive advantage. This is a
natural role for HR practitioners to fulfil, if they are prepared to seize the
opportunity."

Clare Chapman, group HR director at Tesco:

"We think managers should be there to serve staff, not the
other way around. A manager who helps his staff makes a huge difference."

Rick Wills, chairman, London Eye
Company:

"HR must spot the need and where best to attract and
motivate the talent. The HR director needs to be the advocate of this to the
CEO. This is a chance for HR to take a lead."

Tim Coburn, chief executive at
Personal Journeys:

"Asking questions is one of the most effective yet least
developed leadership skills. In the next generation of leadership, the ability
to ask questions that link people, passion and performance will be one of the
most highly prized."

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