Imaginative Ways To Find People and Ideas

October 28, 2015

Contributor: Susan Moore

The race for talent is on. As the pace of competition picks up speed, you must reimagine your organisations quest for talent and try new approaches to access people and ideas.

Are you finding it tough to find the right people and ideas to meet demand? Windows of competitive opportunity now open and shut faster than businesses anticipate. Meeting goals quickly and effectively can become a defining aspect of success.

More than 25 percent of respondents in Gartner's 2015 CEO survey identified talent, skills and labor as the primary impediment to growth and revenue, a significantly higher proportion than the previous year.

Speaking at Gartner IT Symposium/Xpo in Australia, Diane Morello, managing vice president at Gartner, said:

“ “In the quest for talent, access to qualified experts and top talent is not — and never will be again — about hiring employees alone.””

Start with what you are trying to achieve — whether it is to build new channels of expertise, galvanize people to meet big challenges, uncover brand-new ideas or empower teams for growth — and experiment with one or more new practices to find the right path to take.

Expand Expertise Through Members and Supporters

Not-for-profits, institutions, causes, healthcare institutions, universities and state governments use their mission and values to enlist support and expertise from donors, members and non-employee stakeholders. CIOs can use the same form of crowdsourcing model to source expertise. For example, Saxo Bank turned the expertise of its best-performing customers — those who perform better than Saxo's own teams of expert investors — into guidance for others.

Tap Into Fresh, Young Thinkers

Many companies seek fresh, young thinkers finishing college. Some go even further and seek out fresh thinkers who have tested their mettle making social and entrepreneurial impacts, working in a wide variety of "feeder organizations" such Girls Who Code.

Use Hackathons and Competitions

Two ways that CIOs can find new ideas take advantage of porous boundaries. Government agencies and universities are especially well-suited to hackathons. CIOs gain access to enthusiastic coders who can, in a compressed time frame, solve the persistent and too common social and public problems that most governments face.

Launch Open Innovation Events

Many CIOs know that real innovation is usually found close to customers — out in the marketplace and among citizens, frontline employees, partners, clients, communities and consumers. Almost 10 years ago, IBM introduced the concept of an innovation jam, a social construct that connects communities of people for a finite period (say, 72 hours) across topics selected in advance by subject matter experts.

Problem-solving Workouts

GE's workout process — introduced many years ago when Jack Welch was CEO — accelerates problem solving by a "pressure cooker" activity. The process is designed to place exactly the right people in the room; provide the right support to devise careful recommendations; get the right decision makers to agree instantly to "asks"; and devise checks and balances on timing, recommendations and accountability. CIOs who build a reputation for breaking through standoffs to drive change will gain a reputation for organizational excellence and unleashing people and ideas.

Empower Movement Among Teams

In this model, people with various skill sets, aspirations and proficiency levels are encouraged to collaborate, advance and move among project teams. CIOs who want movement and self-direction from their people and who are prepared to support the shift with investment in open information, open competency assessments and open postings might like to try this.

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