Many companies boast about their cultures of innovation. They incorporate creativity and openness into their mission or values statements. They reward employees for new insights and ideas. They hire and promote for innovation. Yet despite such measures, they find that their teams remain stubbornly locked in place, struggling to generate new ideas and to execute even minor change initiatives.
Is your company stormproof?
The storm I’m talking about isn’t a tornado or hurricane, but rather a “perfect storm” in the battle for talent. A tightening labor market combined with baby boomer retirements is adding up to significant talent gaps at many companies. Younger workers are often not ready to take over in leadership positions. Meanwhile, they are becoming frustrated with perceived shortfalls in the leadership development opportunities available at many companies.
Have you heard about Adobe’s Kickbox? It’s a little red box filled with materials that take employees through a six-step, self-guided innovation process. Employees who have a new idea they want to pursue take a workshop and then proceed through the stages of innovation on their own. Each box contains a credit card with $1000 in seed money.
Companies pay millions each year to researchers and consultants to help them understand employees in various generational cohorts. Yet some observers have begun to ask whether companies are going too far, and whether generational divisions are overblown, if they exist at all (see New York Times article Oh, to Be Young, Millennial, and So Wanted by Marketers)