Professor Ian Williamson has spent the past 10 years studying innovation in organisations. Based on this research he believes there are three key human capital issues organisations must address to have a thriving innovation culture. Here they are: #1: DIVERSITY First, the firm must create an environment that supports diversity. We know that a big driver of innovation is the accumulation of diverse expertise and experiences. This allows organisations to consider issues from multiple perspectives and provides a wider range of resources to act on insights. #2: SOCIAL CAPITAL Second, firms must manage the social capital in their organisations. By this I mean firms should spend time thinking about the pattern of interactions that occur within and outside the firm. Our research shows that the social networks of firm’s employees play an important role in shaping new ideas and harnessing these ideas for new services, products and processes. #3: FLEXIBILITY Finally firms must create an environment that supports flexibility. If an organisation wants innovation it must create an environment that encourages and supports employees behaving in different ways. Flexibility in how people work, when they work, and how they decide on which work to do is critical. -----
Ian Williamson, Professor of leadership at the Melbourne Business School is the Helen Macpherson Smith Chair of Leadership for Social Impact at the Melbourne Business School. He currently serves as the Associate Dean of International Relations at MBS and is also the Director of the Asia Pacific Social Impact Leadership Centre.