ILR School

HR: Innovation's Accelerator

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[Excerpt] Amazon and Borders. Netflix and Blockbuster. Uber and taxi drivers. Digital camera makers and Kodak. The list could go on and on. Individual stories of disruptive innovation such as these are some of the most well known - and ca utionary - business tales of our times. Yet, many firms remain blindly confident that such an outcome will never happen to their company. Recent research suggests otherwise. According to a 2016 report by the innova tion -focused firm Innosight, high M&A activity and billion -dollar startup valuations are creating significant market turbulence, with 28 companies being replaced on the S&P 500 index in 2015 alone. At current churn rates, Innosight estimates that by 2026, half of the entire S&P 500 will be replaced-a staggering and sobering figure. As such, the ability to develop deep innovation capabilities has never been more important, for both growth and survival. This year's CAHRs Research Assistant (RA) project takes on this very topic, examining the intersection between HR & Innovation, and how progressive HR leaders can create value and impact through a range of human capital strategies and solutions. Consistent with past CAHRS RA projects, the research methodology for this paper was qualitative in nature, including 41 interviews with HR and business executives at 31 different partner companies, all within the Fortune 500. Unique to this year's project, and in addition to the traditional focus on HR leaders, research assistants also spoke with more than 10 business and innovation leaders, to get a richer, deeper view of innovation. Interviews consisted of 11 questions, but largely focused on three key categories: Why is innovation often so hard? What factors lead to innovation success? How can HR leaders be innovation change agents within their company? Our findings and recommendations follow below.

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Human Resources; innovation; change agent; communication; information sharing; function; culture; talent; leadership; design thinking; strategy; talent management; diversity; R&D; research and development


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