Cause and effect: How does people management deliver innovation?

The importance of innovation as a strategic tool is well understood. What is less understood is the critical role that people management – human resources and organisational development – contribute to delivering significant measureable innovation for today and tomorrow.

There is a lack understanding of the innovation building blocks available for HR and OD professionals to make a strategic innovation impact.

Hargraves Institute has researched innovation in large organisations across all sectors for nearly 10 years. Our members have worked collaboratively to define and understand the building blocks that deliver successful innovation at low risk. To highlight how people management drives innovation outcomes, consider the following building blocks:

Future leaders and talent development

If anyone cares about innovation more than today’s leaders, it’s tomorrows leaders. The support and development of talent for tomorrow is the fuel for today’s innovation ideas and action.

Innovation network

Every organisation has a structure to deliver today’s performance. Successful innovation may require a parallel structure; from an innovation council to innovation groups to individual innovators. HR play a valuable role to design and support innovation structure.

Individual innovators

Supporting innovation at all levels is required every day at every level. A network of volunteer innovation champions (or catalysts) is an approach that requires identical support and definition like all other roles.

Reward and recognition

A powerful driver of innovation is reward and recognition, but it can also be a double-sided sword. Significant rewards can drive unintentional outcomes.


The diagram above summarises a people management approach for a leading multinational fast moving consumer goods company

Hargraves Institute is built on the collective wisdom of its members. When each member shares just one insight or experience, they will receive many others in return. In order to continue to grow our mutual understanding of the critical role people management plays in the delivery of innovation, Hargraves invites leaders to connect and share insights.

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