Innovation and Creativity articles dominate the July issue of HR Monthly, the official magazine of AHRI, Australia’s peak Human Resources body.

Like businesses and organisations the world over, who are increasingly recognising that innovation and creativity allow them to stay afloat and even get ahead of the game in a world changed by difficult and volatile global economic forces, HR Monthly asks how creative thinking and innovative practices are relevant and can be integrated into Human Resources.

Janine Mace begins her Switched On article with, “ It’s a war out there as companies battle to just keep up, let alone get ahead of the game … and innovation is increasingly being touted as essential for an organisation’s success.”

Mace interviewed innovation think-tank Hargrave Institute's CEO Alan Ryan, Queensland University of Technology's Dr. Judy Matthews, and Coca-Cola's Derek O’Donnell to discover how they believe innovation is an essential ingredient in the success of all organisations, particularly those which will grow and flourish into the future. All three experts refer to studies and programs in place that identify the importance of innovation, and all believe that Human Resources has an important part to play in innovation.

Mace says, “Given the close ties between internal culture and innovation, it is unsurprising HR is viewed as a significant player in this area – both at the strategic and practical level.”

This understanding of the practical role HR can play in innovation is echoed in both By Design, in which Brad Howarth considers how organisations need to re-think the way they manage, engage with and develop their staff because “recession may just mean a new opportunity to rethink your workforce”, and in Core Values in which Jacqueline Blondell talks about creativity, innovation and good education with Apple’s co-founder, Steve Wozniak.

To some extent so far, Australia has been sheltered from the more severe effects of the Global Economic Crisis, but as time goes on, even in Australia the economy seems to be flat, and it’s clear that we need to play the long game. That means that permanent changes need to be made.

Individuals and organisations need to hone their creativity in order to survive, and apply it to innovation, adaptability, problem-solving team-work and leadership. It’s about playing smart, being lean and mean, rolling with the punches and seeing and exploiting opportunities.

And as the world takes on inevitable on-going challenges, Human Resources not only can’t afford to ignore the importance of creativity and innovation, but has a crucial role to play in helping smooth the way.

Human Resources is about people, and people need to be adaptive to survive.  By understanding how to find staff who are creative, and recognising, understanding and developing the creativity styles of the people they already have, HR can play a leading part in going forward into a world of increased skill, adaptability and creative problem solving and understanding.

Lynette Jensen

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