Innovation: Where do you start?

Arts Innovation Day

Let’s try a little game of word association. I’ll say a word; you say the first thing that comes to your mind.

  • Breakfast…
  • Sidewalk…
  • Innovation…

Breakfast may have conjured up words and phrases like “orange juice,” “coffee,” or “Good Morning.” Maybe you came up with words like “pavement,” “strolling,” or even “chalk” when I said Sidewalk. I’m going to guess the word Innovation did NOT make you think of “Human Resources.” Well I’m here to tell you that if it did make you think about those policies and procedures that are critical to any and all types of businesses, it wouldn’t be too farfetched.

“Human Resources” doesn’t just mean the policies and procedures for hiring or managing staff in the way that it used to. It is exactly what it says human resources, and how you can work with your business partners to manage, motivate and inspire those that work for your organization.

Everyone is talking about the need for innovation, right?  Unfortunately there isn’t a magic wand that can instantly make you the most innovative nonprofit around. Innovation is a process. It’s a culture. Establishing the operation of your organization as one that supports and encourages innovation is one of the first places to start when you are looking to take your business to the next level of greatness.

Here are 5 things to consider when you’re looking to innovate:

  1. Let it be known that innovation is valued.

Creating clear, and when necessary flexible, policies that clear the way for your employees to focus more on results will inspire innovation. This will allow for more responsible risk taking, which we know leads to some of the brightest ideas!

  1. Remember that people work in all different ways. Get to know your staff and provide opportunities for them to learn more about each other.

There is not one way to innovate. Some people thrive in a group brainstorming session. Others need a little more time to process. Having engaged employees invites the best thinking!

  1. Build a team that is open to innovation.

As an HR partner, you can have a seat at the table to grow your business, make an impact on the community in a very different way than HR has in the past and drive success through leading the function.

  1. Innovation is not just for programming staff.

Everyone is involved when it comes to innovation. If you are building a culture of innovation within your organization, that doesn’t mean a couple people are doing the heavy lifting. Everyone has a part to play, and every function has a place in innovation!

  1. Allow time and space for your team to get creative!

We are arts organizations after all! Building a culture that is safe from judgement and encourages staff to openly share and build innovative solutions is tough work. Again, we don’t have that magic wand. Make time for it. Make it a priority. Make it fun!

That, my friends, is why human resources may just be the backbone of innovation. Are you looking for ways to put these tips into practice? Don’t miss our two sessions on HR Best Practices (presented by Prudential Retirement) and Managing Talent (presented by Aetna) at Arts Innovation Day. Register today for a morning of professional development with the Greater Hartford arts community.  SIGN UP HERE Registration closes May 18, 2016.

Join the United Arts Campaign!

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