Last month, on the eve of much coveted iPhone 5 being available in stores and delivered to our doorsteps; I had an opportunity to listen to great leaders like Gen. Colin Powell at the Dreamforce 2012 conference in San Francisco.
While on the topic of technology innovation and how it’s impacting lives; Mr. Powel gave an excellent example of what he expects in technological innovations. He wasn’t talking about complex stuff but simply why can’t we have ezPass solution that is implemented on NJ Freeways; available to us while parking cars in lots in large cities. His key point was Innovation is not about complex technologies but it’s about how simple solutions already in place can be used and leveraged for some other purposes as well thus simplifying day to day life. it’s about ideas of how existing innovations/technologies can be applied in other spheres of our lives.
On another note about the next generation, he gave a story of his grand children. A family member or a neighbor got a new 50” television and the child started crying as it isn’t working. Everyone was wondering why is the kid so upset with the new TV set. It turned out to be an expectation issue with the child. She was expecting the TV is just a large iPad and touch screen should be working. Why it isn’t working?
Welcome to this new generation. What it means to us in business is all about catching up with new generation workforce and their expectations. This new generation is “not going to keep up with us, but rather we need to keep up with them”. Engaging this generation in their work life and achieving exceptional business results is not an easy task and keep most of the business leaders, talent management executives awake at night.
How do we engage and drive meaningful innovation thru generation next workforce?
Purpose : Human being are same across the globe , irrespective of culture, language and geographic locations. A human being is driven by Purpose and a leader’s job is to provide this sense of purpose on whatever you do.
Transparency : Social media adoption has changed our lives dramatically. One of the fundamental changes is bringing in the Transparency. Transparency in thoughts, actions and results. Collaboration and social media technologies are enablers to make such cultural changes in an organization and needs a top down adoption starting with a CEO. With Transparency comes accountability & empowerment. Empowered employees are more likely to take risks and generate new ideas.
Recognition : Mr. Powell gave an excellent example of how an office cleaner is important for you to do your job well. It’s because of him or her, you are able to do your job well. Acknowledging the importance of every role in your organization and recognizing the individuals is key to success of organizations. In an increasingly global and remote working employees; virtual collaboration tools and technologies are enabling the mechanisms to engage and recognize employees. In our Survey of HR & Talent Management professionals, a staggering 65% respondents said “Recognition by Management” is the key factor in Employee Motivation. (Find the survey results here)
In a nutshell, to drive incremental as well as breakthrough innovation; leaders need to embrace these qualities in day to day operations.
Reinforce the Sense of Purpose + Transparency in thoughts, actions & results + Spot Recognition for employee contributions = Increased Employee Engagement –> Key Innovation Driver
This is easier said than done. It is an organization wide cultural change that today’s business leaders need to embrace and drive down in the rest of the organization.
Share with us your ideas on how you plan to unlock the talent and innovation potential of your employees?/li