Innovation Isn't About Ideas

By James A Gardner

It is impossible to argue that fresh, new ideas are necessary if you are going to start an innovation effort. With no ideas, in the end, you're left with no innovation at all. But the issue is that so many people forget it takes more than a great idea to create an innovation which can actually generate value.

Besides ideas, you also need to concentrate on execution. It is execution that turns ideas into real products, services and process improvements. And it is execution where the hard work starts.

The reason people forget this important detail is simple. It's because the process of generating new ideas is inherently creative. It's fun, and you get a feeling of accomplishment just because you've dreamed up something unique. Everyone has had the experience of an energising brainstorming session, resulting in full whiteboards: you leave the room feeling you've accomplished something amazing.

Most of the time, though, nothing further ever happens. People are so satisfied with their work in creating new ideas that they allow themselves to forget there's still much more to do. Then, when someone else not only has the same idea, but executes it will, there is universal teeth gnashing as people wonder "why didn't we do that?". Regret is the order of the day, and it is a lesson hard learned. Especially when the opportunity cost turns out to be significant.

The answer is a systematic focus on execution, and the best way to get that is an innovation program. An innovation program allows creative people to focus on ideas, whilst taking away the detail steps of turning those ideas into something practicable. Creating an innovation program isn't necessarily simple, but it is an investment that reaps significant and sustained rewards over time. And it is an investment many companies are making these days in order to ensure they remain competitive. - 32171

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What Is A Human Resource Management System?

By Peter Blair

For people interested in the field of human resources, you should know that a Human Resource Management System (HRMS) is an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software application that specially dealing with staff problems. These systems are mostly intertwined alongside other commercial applications such as finance. Throughout the years managing an companies HR department has become increasingly complicated as this important practical group now needs to track personnel information like education, job history, skills, and individual details. For years it has been about unfeasible for medium and large organizations to manage the wealth of human resources information effectively and comfortably without utilizing computers. Throughout the past Human Resource Management System (HRMS) operated on gigantic, centralized mainframe machines but today many of those systems are available on personal computers. Let's look some of their standard components.

The Payroll module stores data on individuals hours worked and nonattendance. Subject to its sophistication the module calculates taxes and auxiliary deductions and generates a array of employee checks, government checks, and multiple reports. It needs to apply to the letter, national, state, and internal tax rules, and an series of other technical documentation including union as well as non-union contracts. Certain payroll systems account and record overtime with many of those automatically [depositing] employee checks. Normally information coming from the payroll module transfers into financial management systems then assists administrators make financial decisions.

Most know that allowances are an increasingly pertinent area of most employee repayment packages. A Benefits Administration module allows companies to process worker participation in compensation programs such as life and health insurance, profit sharing, stock buys, and retirement packages. The good systems give accurate reports which help the company in devising an desirable but relatively inexpensive benefits package for the employees.

In decent economic times companies must constantly try to hire new workers however even if the organization is not currently employing, it needs to collect resumes of qualifying aspirants so it can fill jobs quickly when the need arises. In the Internet age, the majority of hiring is done online and online hiring has become a major Human Resources application. Talent Management systems, as well known as Applicant Tracking Systems, examine the organization's present staff usage and needs, identify qualified applicants be they internal or external, and manage the physical recruitment process. A huge part of these systems is enforcing concession with Equal Opportunity Employment laws.

The preceding is by any means a complete array of Human Resources modules. Additional modules analyze employee productivity, track individual credentials and organization training efforts, and provide overall administration of the HR function. Concerned companies can pick from a wide variety of off-the-shelf HR systems so a lot of carriers are willing to make extensive alterations to their systems, for a cost. - 32171

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Best Innovation Measurement

By James A Gardner

What metrics do you use you measure the results of your innovation team? Do you count the number of new ideas they have collected? How about the number of new ideas they have generated or the number of new product introductions they have been responsible for?

Such measures are quite useful, but they don't necessarily truly reflect much that is helpful when justifying the existence of an innovation team. There is, in fact, only one thing which can actually do that: a tangible connection to financial results. The connection, when it exists, needs to be able to show that innovation is a very special kind of investment opportunity - one that is demonstrably better than any other available.

This will be true whether the innovation team is in the public sector (with a financial measure around cost saving) or the private one (with an additional financial measure around revenue production).

The financial barrier an innovation team needs to hurdle is it must recoup the funds they've used, and in addition make enough new money to demonstrate they are the best opportunity for investment available.

Consider the case where an organisation has the opportunity to invest in a Lean programme, which is projected to return at least 20% savings as bloated processes are thinned down and efficiencies are found. Or, it can invest in an innovation effort.

In this case, the innovators must develop returns of at least 20% if they want to keep their funding. Frankly, it is likely that the returns from a Lean initiative will be more certain - i.e., they are less risky - than innovation, since innovation projects usually fail up to 80% of the time. Therefore, to compete, the innovators have to do rather better than the baseline 20%.

This is a fundamental tenant of capital pricing. The more risk in a particular investment, the higher the return needs to be to justify the investment in the first place. - 32171

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Do You Want A Central Innovation Team?

By James Gardner

The central innovation team is a model which is well adopted in many industries. In Parma, for example, research and development budgets tend to be held in large business units which are dedicated to the innovation function. And in Banking as an another example, there are likely to be many small New Product Development teams, each of which is accountable for the innovation in a particular business line. Even in Government, there's increasing reliance on central innovation teams, in the never-ending pursuit of efficiency and cost savings.

Understanding the reason is not difficult. Central teams are simple to establish, and very easy to measure compared to alternatives which rely on an "innovation culture". It is easy to point to such teams and say "here is how we do innovation". These are teams which make executives feel good about their innovation efforts, because when you can nominate specific individuals and assign accountability, you know things are being done.

Now, in this model, the innovation team is the group that decides how and when to innovate. They ordinarily control an investment budget of some kind, and are accountable for making investments that drive forward the innovation agenda. If they are any good at all, they will sign up to some big return numbers that can justify the investments they're making.

But there's a problem with a central innovation team that does everything: in order to get more innovation happening, you have to add more people. This doesn't scale, and here is why.

For most new things, the difference in effort required to get an organisation to do something radical, versus something a little more incremental isn't all that great. You still have to do all the influencing, the management of politics, and of course, the finding of the money.

Incremental innovations, though they tend to be relatively risk free compared to their radical cousins, don't generally make big returns individually. You need to be doing a lot of them before you can make a sizeable difference. With a central team, you often find the individual incremental innovations don't pay for the time of the innovators.

On the other hand, doing things which are more radical can provide much better returns, though the risk level is much higher. For innovators, this makes it seem sensible to select more radical innovation for progression. The rationale is clear: do incremental and never break even, or do radical and at least have the chance to do so.

What is really needed, though, is a balanced portfolio approach to innovation coupled with significant inputs from customers and employees. Participatory innovation, as this approach is known when supported by a central team, is usually the best approach to making innovation work in large organisations. - 32171

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The Positive Impact Of Employee Schedule Software

By Adriana Noton

If there are a lot of different schedules in your workplace, consider the use of employee schedule software. This type of software comes in numerous titles and can be used in many different ways to make scheduling easy. If you think that this may be a help to you in your business or work area, consider some of the following.

Software such as this can be popular with both employers and employees themselves. Employers can use this to organize employee schedules in their workforce. As a result, it can make changing and arranging shifts much more convenient and easy than it was before. You can also configure shifts for multiple employees or make changes as needed. Making the software available to employees allows everyone to be aware of their schedule change.

Because of this, adding shifts or picking them up as an employee can be more convenient as well. Employees may prefer logging into software or on software equipped sites to access their schedule whenever they want. This is better than the alternative of having to call into work to discover what shifts are available or what their schedule is for the week. There is also no concern for losing printed schedules or missing voice mails about shifts.

Using the employee schedule software can improve your ability to keep track of any hours and days that you or your employees have worked as well. If you need to keep track of information for documentation in your workplace, this can be a good way of organizing those statistics. It can also be useful to employees that have to take care of their time sheets or other paperwork.

The price for software systems such as this usually then varies depending on the software style and uses itself. Usually the employer will take care of this cost. However, if the work requires that the employee also needs the same software for use, then sometimes the cost may also be applied to the employees as well. It depends on the work policy of the company or business.

Since there are many variations of software, it is important to consider the options that are available. Researching different types and realizing the strong points and assets of each can help you to narrow your choices. More specifically, once this has been done, software costs can be compared for the best value.

In general, the use of this style of software can greatly benefit both workers and their employers. It allows both to organize their schedules more clearly and effectively. In this scenario, there is likely to be less confusion about shifts and their times, and days in the schedule are less likely to be missed.

This is basic information regarding the use of employee schedule software. If this seems like an option you may be interested in for your business, you should research the different styles that are available. Consider what your scheduling needs are and try to find a software title that will best suit those needs ultimately. - 32171

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Use People Finder Search Engines to Find an Old Friend

By Matthew Radoski

People finder search engines are online private websites which provide comprehensive information about individual people as well as public records. The vast database of information provided in these search engines is accumulated from various public, private and proprietary based sources and therefore the accuracy of the results is entirely dependent on the accuracy of the original records from which the data has been extracted.

It is possible for the effective and efficient people finder search engines to feature more that a billion records as these can be used to conduct in-depth searches on topics like back-ground checks, vital record public search info, birth records, criminal records, telephone directories and searches related to marriage and divorce to name just a few. However, an important point which should be kept in mind by the user is that it is owing to the presence of a large volume of data none of the existing people finder search engines indulge in the task of verifying, correcting or updating the available data. As a result, there is no guarantee that the information being sought would be available or that even after being found it would be accurate and up-to-date.

Although the people finder search engines are not affiliated to the US Government at any level, they are still subjected to rules and regulations as regards the accessibility of their public information records. Hence it is not always that the user might gain accessibility easily or free of cost since there is the factor of sensitivity which governs the provision of information.

There are times when finer details pertaining to some particular information are held back and in such cases the individual conducting the search is subjected to a series of inquiries at various levels as a means to provide authorization.

People finder search engines provide the best solution if one is looking for whereabouts of friends and relatives within the country. While in olden days this search used to be conducted by advertising in newspapers and other forms of media like the radio and the television, conducting the same search in the modern era entails the use of the internet which is not only economic but time-saving as well. - 32171

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Who Should you Hire to Lead Innovation

By James A Gardner

A key question to be resolved at the start of an innovation effort is who to hire to lead.

This is an especially important decision, because whether you've determined to have a central innovation team or a distributed one that builds an innovation culture, everything that happens will be dependent on what mentality the leader brings to the table.

One option is to put an entrepreneur in charge: an individual with proven capacity to being small ventures and run them to success. The kind of person who knows everything necessary to run an enterprise on a shoestring and can match limited resources to big problems. This is a leader who has proved they have what it takes to turn individual ideas into something valuable.

Alternatively, is it better to hire someone with significant experience managing portfolios of activity, and who know just how to make decisions to start things as well as how to stop them. Now, such an individual probably doesn't have a great deal of experience in the low down day to day running of projects, but they certainly are able to make investment decisions.

Most people, given the choice would go for the former. It is the easy choice to make: choose someone you know will at least make a few things they choose to focus on succeed.

Unfortunately, this is not always the best choice.

Entrepreneurial innovation leaders will always be highly motivated to make a few pet projects successful. That is how they've made a name for themselves in the first place, generally. They've taken a good idea, and through personal heroics, made it into something worthwhile. Usually, their whole careers have been made on a few lucky breaks.

Individual heroics are one thing, but the fact of the matter is most innovation projects fail for one reason or other. This happens despite the amount of effort applied. Entrepreneurs accept this intuitively, so they cancel a projects which don't seem to be progressing well. They live in the hope that their next project will be a hit.

For innovators in corporate situations, though, this is a very bad strategy. Innovation teams usually last about 18 months before they are disbanded, so doing things in a sequential order means time runs out way before there are decent results. The implication is that hiring someone with an investment mentality, rather than an entrepreneur, is usually sensible.

Investors have an intuitive understanding of the fact that the real name of the game in innovation is avoiding concentrations of risk to get to a predictable return. Usually, that means a light touch on a large number of simultaneous innovations, rather than a deep concentration on a few. - 32171

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