In evolution there are often leaps that significantly change life. Take the tiktaaliik for instance. About 375 million years, this fish like lizard wasn’t satisfied with swimming in swamps anymore so tried going onto the land, walking on its fins. One small step for the tiktaaliik, one giant leap for land animals!
Many of the most successful and innovative companies in the world also had a leap of thinking in their products or services that led to a completely new business model.
I love the story of 3M. They had experimented with adhesives but had found they couldn’t produce one that was sticky enough. They shelved it. A few years later, a 3M employee tired of his piece of paper falling out of his hymn book at church, came up with the idea of using the weak adhesive on the back of a note. The Post-it note was invented!
Often it’s frustration about things not working the way you want them to that leads to innovation. Anita Roddick was frustrated about the waste of containers and having to buy more product than you needed – so she founded the Body Shop. Dr Johnathon Bertman was so frustrated by about patient software, that he taught himself to code and built a simple system where patient notes were easy to make and find. Today Amazing Charts is used by over 5,900 medical practises and has won many awards. And at the HR Game Changer Conference Rod Drury is going to share the story of how frustration played a part in why he created Xero.
I believe in HR we’re at a crossroads. There now seem to be two schools of thought that most HR people fall into.
The first school of thought is that HR is doing the right things, but we just need to be more business focused and strategic in how we deliver them. We need to modernise.
The second school of thought is that we need to actually transform what we’re doing: how and what HR is and what it delivers.
To me, transformation is the only answer. The number of businesses that are cutting HR teams out, the level of dissatisfaction that many senior leaders voice about HR mean that there is a large amount of frustration out there. HR could just modernise what it’s doing. After all there are still cosmetics companies out there that waste and harm the world – the Body Shop didn’t get rid of them, it just gave consumers an alternative.
Some would argue though that it started a movement to make products more environmentally responsible and many businesses changed because of it. If we actually transform and radically change what HR delivers – we may create that leap in HR’s evolution that takes us into the future.
This is what’s exciting to me. However many people are scared of a radical change. Disruption to them means destruction, rather than an opportunity to lead our profession into new territory.
If you’re in the second school of thought, and ideas on how to transform – you still have time to register for the HR Game Changer Conference. See you there!