7 Great Insights on People, HR and Open Innovation


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If you believe that people are a key element in innovation, then you should check out this article: Implications of Open Innovation Trends for HR

It starts out with this intro and questions:

Open innovation is changing how organizations think about the next big idea. But what are the implications for HR? Should the function get involved in the complex people management implications?

As an appetizer, I have inserted some of the key messages from the article below. I hope you can find some inspiration in this.

Think about the structure of the organization:

Those that make it work find a blend of structure, process and people,” says Ford. “You don’t create an OI process without first thinking about the structure of the organization: what kind of people are you bringing in and how are you training them?” Harwood believes it’s “a no brainer” that HR should be involved with OI strategy, partly down to the need to overcome ‘not invented here’ syndrome.

A big need for corporate innovation training programs:

“We have a definite paradigm shift going on, from closed to open innovation. There’s going to be a big need for corporate innovation training programs and upgrades in the coming years. It will be interesting to see how organizations tackle this – and the role of HR.”

Europe has a big problem with a “not invented here” culture:

Toby Peyton-Jones, HR director for UK and North-West Europe at Siemens, acknowledges this issue. “With new technology, we shouldn’t think we are going to invent everything ourselves, but Europe has a big problem with a ‘not invented here’ culture,” he says. He compares it with China, where he once worked and where “our competitors knew our products better than us”

HR is the least value company group in the context of OI:

But traditionally, this level of HR involvement hasn’t been the case. According to research by Cambridge University’s Institute for Manufacturing (IfM), of the company groups most important for OI, HR is the least valued.

HR’s role includes enhancing communication, networking and stakeholder management skills:

Lindegaard sees HR’s role as enhancing communication, networking and stakeholder management skills, which will become ever more critical in a connected world. “Innovation as a management discipline is going to become more important, so how are you going to turn it into a capability?” he asks. “If you don’t get the training right, who is at fault? I would like to see more HR people take interest in this.”

You limit your potential to move into a more senior role:

At Cisco, UK & Ireland head of HR Caroline Griffiths says that although the term OI is more US-centric and not part of her day-to-day role, there’s an expectation that network building, internally and externally, is vital. “It’s a given that you do other stuff [internally and externally, outside of your job],” she says. “You’re not forced into it, but by not doing it, you limit your potential to move into a more senior role.”

HR must embed transferable learning across the organization:

Ford makes the point that even if OI activities are limited to a specific area of the business, HR still has a role to play in embedding the transferable learning across the organization. “What have you learned from the process and how do you embed it through the workforce?” he asks. “Use it as a toolkit to help you do things differently and break through the structures.”

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Stefan Lindegaard
Stefan is an author, speaker, facilitator and consultant focusing on open innovation, social media tools and intrapreneurship.


  1. Very interesting post, Stefan. Staff training is crucial for open innovation to flourish. The way IO encourages flow of ideas in many directions, we should also encourage many-to-many and flow of feedback, especially using mobile to support the flow of ideas and create a secure environment for sharing different views.


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