Ignite HR 6: Driving Innovation Through a Workforce of Hackers

Have we been misled about how innovation works, particularly as it pertains to the workforce?

Jason Lauritsen says we have.

I know Jason as an HR professional and talent management thinker extraordinaire who contributes on occasion to the voices her at TLNT. But, he’s also one of the founders of the HR Reinvention conference in Omaha that is held every November, and, the guy who plugged me into the Ignite HR format that plays such a prominent role in the conference.

Innovation? It lives in the box, not outside of it

His Ignite HR presentation from the November 2012 Nebraska conference was titled A Workforce of Hackers, and Jason’s premise is intriguing and simple: he says that we have been brainwashed to believe that innovation is solely the product of a lone genius like Steve Jobs, or, a hyper-creative team “that spits out one great idea after another.” And, he makes this great observation:

We’ve become convinced that innovation lives ‘outside the box,’ but when you really consider where most of our work happens, and when you consider where most of the innovation possibility lives, it’s not outside the box — it’s squarely in the middle of it.”

HR, he adds, has the opportunity to unlock this innovation within the organization by changing how you think about innovation. And he points to the way computer hackers work as a model for how to drive innovation through small steps.

Sound intriguing? It is, and you can get more of Jason’s thinking about it in the Ignite HR video below. It’s one of seven (7) Ignite HR presentations from the HR Reinvention conference in Omaha last November were each in some way related to the theme of “putting the human back in human resources.”

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We’ve been featuring them here on TLNT last week and this one, and this is video No. 6. The earlier ones, in case you missed them, were:

Great insights in just 5 minutes

The charm of the Ignite HR format is that it is very tightly constructed so that presenters get only five (5) minutes, 20 slides and exactly 15 seconds per slide, maximum, to do their thing. Although that may sound like a strange way to present, it is the tight format that really makes the presentations memorable because the presenters have to get to their point very, very quickly.

Jason Lauritsen’s Ignite HR presentation made the case that how hackers work can be a great model to show us how true innovation can work on the job and in our own workplaces. It’s a premise that is perfectly suited for the Ignite HR format. See if you find it as thoughtful and intriguing as I did.

John Hollon is Editor-at-Large at ERE Media and was the founding Editor of TLNT.com. A longtime newspaper, magazine, and business journal editor, John has deep roots in the talent management space. He's the former Editor of Workforce Management magazine and workforce.com, served as Editor of RecruitingDaily, and was Vice President for Content at HR technology firm Checkster. An award-winning journalist, John has written extensively about HR, talent management, leadership, and smart business practices, including for the popular Fistful of Talent blog. Contact him at johnhollon@ere.net, connect with him on LinkedIn, or follow him on Twitter @johnhollon.


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