Imagination and Creativity is an Underdeveloped Skill in HR

In HR we are always trying to improve our skills. We study leadership. We study HR in hopes of becoming certified. We study many skills based areas. One are we do a poor job is in imagination. Imagination is an undeveloped skill in HR, yet it is one that is badly needed as we hurtle into the future.

Working on a better world

The inspiration for this post came from an article I read entitled Intel futurist: ‘imagination is the undeveloped skill’. It is about Intel futurist Brain David Johnson, Intel’s first futurist. He works for a company where it takes 10 to 15 years to design a new computer chip, so they need someone that can tell them what the world may look like 10 to 15 years from the present in order to allow them to develop the best chip for that time. He says his work is very pragmatic and helps Intel prepare a technology that is rapidly diminishing in size and thus can make just about anything a computer.

Katie Collins, writing in, says that Johnson dislikes the current view of the future posed by a lot of futurists. He says “Where are things? Where is stuff that makes us comfortable?” We are complex beings with many needs. We have different cultures and different beliefs that make us interesting.” He further says “Let’s design futures that are designed for real people, and the futures of real people.” His remarks are directed toward the retail industry but I think they could equally apply to the field of Human Resources as well.

In ten years

In 10 to 15 years the world of work is going to be very different in many ways. You can read about some of these ways by looking back over my posts here at Blogging4Jobs, or by reading my Future Friday posts at Omega HR Solutions. As interesting as these posts may be (I find them fascinating) they are however not an exercise of your imagination.

For you to be an effective HR leader you have to exercise your imagination for your organization. You have to understand how things are changing in your industry. You have to be able to sit and look at each employee and imagine if they will be around in 10 years and if so, how will they be different. What will they have to learn to be around as a productive employee? What will the company have to do for them? What will they have to do for the company?

You have to imagine what new employees will be like in order to start preparing a company world for them. What education will they bring? What education will they need? What education and experiences will you be prepared to give them.

Imagination is undeveloped in HR

Most HR people don’t really spend much time on the future. Unfortunately we are too immersed in surviving day-to-day. That however needs to change. You need to be prepared. You need to exercise that imagination. Read more, think more, daydream more. Become an “HR Imagineer” for your company.

If you cannot imagine yourself doing that, then find someone who can.

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Mike Haberman

Michael (Mike) D. Haberman, SPHR is a consultant, speaker, writer of HR Observations, and co-founder of Omega HR Solutions, Inc. After over 30 years in HR he got tired of the past and focuses here on the Future of HR. Connect with Mike.


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