People and Leaders in Industry 4.0
Innovation is a modern word used nearly everywhere, especially in terms of company policies.
However, I sometimes feel that the authors of the policies cannot connect it to particular phenomena.
They have a blurred idea of what innovation means in their business and how leaders should set
the environment for innovation to make a difference. They do not understand what kind of people
it takes to implement such innovation.
Innovation is not currently perceived as a matter of
corporations or societies investing huge sums in new,
cutting-edge projects. Nowadays, innovation is an
indivisible feature of each business regardless of the
size of the company. Results of each innovation depend
on the people who implement it.
The difficulty lies not so much
in developing new idea as in escaping
from old ones.
John Maynard Keynes
I often hear the stray idea that innovation demands
a thoroughly creative team with nearly unlimited support
who will chain-produce fresh ideas. Companies successful
in implementing innovation, however, prove it to be the
systematic work of those innovators who focus on their
target and see the needs of their customer or client. Such
a team typically achieves innovation at a lower cost in
a shorter time.
Radmila Liďáková, HR Manager in IPH Servis Morava,
s.r.o., has worked in both large and small companies, so
I asked her about her views on innovation in action when
working with people.
What people are necessary in a company that aims for
A company who wants to innovate needs absolutely
standard employees, those who must be motivated for
innovation. They need motivation to think at work and
do something more, which is easier said than done on
site. Still, step by step, day by day I motivate employees
towards positive thinking as well as towards the will to
change, improve, innovate, and enjoy their interesting
What is the difference between innovation in large and
small businesses as seen by employees?
The difference is in the approach. A large company is
almost anonymous; an ordinary employee may find it
difficult to communicate with the management and solve
problems, search for new opportunities, and implement
improvements. Things are easier in a small company:
everybody knows the boss, a welder or a mechanic
included. There are no obstructions and there is no
hesitation; there is room for solutions and implementation.
Making that happen in a large company is possible but
definitely more time consuming and challenging.
What environment and culture should an HR manager
establish in a company so as to support strategic
Obviously, you cannot order people to make the
environment relaxed and friendly, or to make their
thinking innovative. A year and a half ago our company
moved into a brand new premises. We can innovate
whatever and wherever we turn: dated machinery and
equipment in large halls, processes which serve our clients
as well as product innovation help us grow and develop.
We dedicate most of our energy to working with people
within our company: we create the environment which
supports creative thinking, assist and inspire growth
through professional and expert training and show good
professional practice in other companies.
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