I was recently invited to speak at the HR Minds conference in Berlin. At first glimpse this didn’t seem to be a natural fit for my usual speaking topics, but the organisers were really keen to have me there and to bring a different perspective to the room of HR professionals and practitioners.

HR within organisations is changing at a pace and should be the organisational bastions and champions of the EveryDay innovation mission. But too frequently, they are not. As the demands on HR within organisations increase, surely the champions of our key talent, need to be engaged in the innovation discussion – after all if they aren’t, then how are they going to ensure they deliver the skills that the next generation of our businesses require?

The role of HR has changed. Too many haven’t embraced this change, but the role has changed. Our HR leaders need to be data people, understand tech, show empathy to the increasingly diverse set of expectations be they generational, cultural or other. I am an advocate of the work done by Engage for Success, a UK-based movement, who like me are committed to the idea that there is a better way to work, a better way to enable personal growth, organisational growth and ultimately growth at a national level, by releasing more of the capability and potential of people at work. This video by Engage for Success brings this to life nicely and also provided me with the title for this post (credit: Engage for Success).

In Berlin I was joined by some great speakers and experts. There is a lot happening within the HR sector to drive the changes and the people in attendance were all forward looking and very much engaged in the future of HR and the future of work discussion. Ralf Buechsenschluss from Nestle spoke on the topic of People Analytics, an area I previously knew very little about, but there are some great start-ups and scale ups in this space (check out FunctionHR or HRForecast) and it was interesting to hear how Nestle are using people analytics as a core part of their workforce planning and future strategic workforce planning. Do you have a people analytics strategy and capability within your organisation? Do your HR team have the metrics, capabilities and permissions to enable them to work in this capacity within your organisations? This will become an increasingly important aspect of the HR function in coming years, to ensure you attract, upskill, re-skill, develop and retain the right talent as the workplace shifts around us.

I was invited to talk on how EveryDay innovation can be a core part of the engagement and innovation strategy for forward looking organisations, you can view my presentation here. My frustration with presenting to HR audiences, is that all too often, I feel like the Everyday innovation message is  always well received but with a degree of resignation and frustration, and there is a clear message, that “innovation and the mandate to innovate does not sit with HR.” To be clear on this, I don’t think its due to a lack of will or want, it is just not where leaders turn to when they seek to innovate.

Surely this has to change?

Human Resource


of employees currently have no understanding of what innovation means to their employers


Innovation is an outcome from innovative behaviours. We innovate through being innovative. It is a cultural paradigm. If we accept this, and some may not, then surely HR has a central and key role to play in the innovation equation? This starts with attracting the right talent, relies a lot on how we onboard and integrate talent (an area that many argue is in need of some innovating itself!), and continues throughout the life of the employee, with resonance on a daily basis. In our rapidly changing world, where talent is increasingly more difficult to find, attract and retain, we surely need to bring HR to the top table and make a culture of innovation a part of their strategic mandate?

I have many friends who are seasoned HR professionals. There are a number who are Future Shapers on this site with me also. I am not a HR professional, but I am a champion of the work they do and a cheerleader on the sidelines for the work they need to be allowed to do.  These are my observations from a couple of days with some great thought leaders and learners in Berlin. I have subsequently revisited the posts by Rita Trehan for The Future Shapers and would encourage you to give this post in particular a read (re-read) if what I have shared here had any resonance for you!