Platt Perspective on Business and Technology

Don’t invest in ideas, invest in people with ideas 43 – the issues and challenges of communications in a business 10

Posted in HR and personnel, strategy and planning by Timothy Platt on March 19, 2019

This is my 43rd installment in a series on cultivating and supporting innovation and its potential in a business, by cultivating and supporting the creative and innovative potential and the innovative drive of your employees and managers, and throughout your organization (see HR and Personnel – 2, postings 215 and loosely following for Parts 1-42.)

To put this posting in perspective for how it fits into this series as a whole, I have at least relatively systematically been preparing, since Part 39 to address two topics points and their issues, that I have held forth as organizing goals for this overall narrative, where I will:

1. Offer an at least brief analysis of the risk management-based information access-determination process, or rather flow of such processes, as would arise and play out in a mid-range risk level context, where I sketched out and used a simplified risk management scale system in Part 39 for didactic purposes, that I will continue to make use of here and in what follows. (Note: see that posting for an explanation of why I would focus on mid-range risks here, rather than on risk in general, or on mid-range and higher risk level possibilities.)
2. Then continue on from there to discuss how this type of system (or rather a more complete and functionally effective alternative to it as developed around a more nuanced and complete risk assessment metric than I pursue here), can and in fact must be dynamically maintained for how the business would address both their normative and predictably expected, and their more novel potential information sharing contexts as they might arise too. I note here in anticipation of that, that when innovation is involved and particularly when disruptively novel innovation is, novel information sharing contexts have to be considered the norm in that. And that significantly shapes how all of the issues encompassed in these two numbered points would be understood and addressed.

I began to take out of the abstract, this foundation-building background discussion that would lead up to a more detailed consideration of the above two points, in Part 42, when I began to flesh out and discuss two specific if selectively offered case study-formatted business examples, which I repeat here for their single bullet point summary descriptors, for smoother continuity of narrative:

• ClarkBuilt Inc.: a small to medium size business by head count and cash flow that was initially built to develop and pursue a new business development path as built around its founders’ jointly arrived at “bold new innovative products” ideas. The Clark brothers, Bob and Henry came up with a new way to make injection molds for plastics and similar materials that would make it cost-effective to use injection molding manufacturing processes with new types of materials, and cost-effectively so. They have in fact launched their dream business to do that, and have developed a nice little niche market for their offerings, providing specialized-materials parts to other manufacturers.
• And Kent Enterprises: a larger and more established business that in fact has at least something of a track record of supporting, or at least attempting to support innovative excellence within its ranks and on a larger, wider-ranging scale.

My goal for this posting is to continue and conclude, at least for purposes of this discussion thread, my analyses of these two businesses and certainly insofar as they would seek out innovative potential in their new employee hiring processes, and as they would seek to cultivate and retain the innovative potential that they do bring onboard. And I begin by repeating a more general business model-oriented point of intent that I addressed for each of these enterprises at least in passing, in Part 42:

• ClarkBuilt was initially conceived and founded, and has been built with a goal of realizing the fullest, most business-effective possibilities that its founders: Bob and Henry can develop out of a single initial game changing insight and innovation that they had arrived at with their new approach to injection molding in the manufacture of special materials, specialized parts. And the entire thrust of their enterprise moving forward has been to realize that goal: that shared dream that they hold to, and with any and all new innovation that would be added in, evaluated for its relevance and value to them according to how it supports this business, and its core defining innovation.
• And Kent Enterprises, has at the very least grown and developed towards a more widely, openly innovative business model approach as it seeks to remain competitively relevant in a changing industry and in the face of a change-demanding marketplace. To be clear here, Kent does not and probably never will in any way fit the type of research-as-product business model that is addressed in my concurrently running series: Pure Research, Applied Research and Development, and Business Models (as can be found at Business Strategy and Operations – 4 and its Page 5 continuation, as postings 664 and loosely following there.) This is not a business that would pursue pure research or even just more openly framed and considered applied research – except insofar as its leadership might be able to envision up-front of that, a likely practical application that they could cost-effectively develop and bring to market from it, in-house. But they do see and feel the pressures of change as it is taking place around them and they do see a fundamental need for them to change too, and certainly if they are to reach and stay at the forefront of their industry, among their competitive field.

Both businesses face gray area decision making requirements and challenges, for who they would look for categorically when hiring, when evaluating possible job candidates by skills and experience achieved and by observable indicators of innovative potential. And both face gray area decision making in how best to make use of the skills, experience and enthusiasm to build and create new that they do bring in-house and into their systems

And the lack of sufficiently complete knowledge that they both face and both for planning out their more immediate here-and-now and for moving forward longer-term, can serve to bring these two enterprises to arrive at what might be essentially identical personnel and hiring policies and practices. ClarkBuilt might focus on bringing in and retaining people who in some way specialize in areas that directly relate to injection molding technology or to better understanding and making use of the wider range of materials that they would process through their business defining proprietary technology that centers on it. And Kent Enterprises might at least nominally throw a wider innovation-seeking net insofar as they are not as tight bound to any one particular technology or its specific area of application. But both seek to remain applied-focused, and with that driven by and shaped by what they already do as a foundational starting point for all that they might pursue and do next.

And this brings me from the issues of job descriptions and the hiring processes that these businesses would carry out in building their professional staffs and in bringing in new lower and mid-level managers, to the issues of what they would do with the people they have, and of how they would work with and support them in what they do. And that takes me directly and specifically to the above repeated topics Points 1 and 2, that I will finally begin to explicitly address starting in my next installment to this series. And in anticipation of further discussion to come, I will pursue those topic points exactly as I have when preparing to discuss them, beginning in Part 39 and starting there with a more abstract line of discussion and then considering them in terms of my two here-still advancing case study examples.

Meanwhile, you can find this and related postings and series at Business Strategy and Operations – 5, and also at Page 1, Page 2, Page 3 and Page 4 of that directory. Also see HR and Personnel and HR and Personnel – 2.

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