Bluegreen Learning

The skills you need for successful innovation

05-February-2018
05-February-2018 14:36
in Creativity
by Rob Sheffield

picture for Bluegreen Learning blog innovation skills

Innovation skills are most desired but hard to find

And the gap is getting wider. 

Several recent reports have identified the increasing need for innovation in order for companies to remain competitive. Increasingly, workplace skills around innovation and creativity are needed to address the changing nature of work and the rapid pace of change.

The global professional services firm EY identified creativity and complex problem-solving amongst their five future skills for employers1. Bloomberg’s job skills study2 in 2015 asked recruiters at nearly 550 companies what skills they want in their staff but cannot find. Number four on the list is creative problem-solving. And creativity is listed as one of the top three skills needed in 2020 according to the World Economic Forum report, The Future of Jobs3.

In these reports, and our own survey, people are describing a world where massive shifts are taking place in the global marketplace and economic power balances, regulations and competitive landscapes, customer preferences and how particular sectors work. Organisations need more of their people actively engaged in making sense of, and dealing with, this turbulence, and are trying to embed creativity and innovation skills throughout their organisations in order to meet the challenges of change.

Some companies are further down this path than others: “More and more, creativity is becoming part of job descriptions. Many of [the] largest companies – including Google, 3M and DuPont – expect their workers to spend as much as 20% of their time thinking creatively about new business opportunities.” 4

What capabilities drive innovation?

To understand what is meant by ‘innovation and creativity’ skills, we identified 16 capabilities. These fall in one of five areas covering the whole innovation process:

  • Defining the innovation challenge 
  • Generating and selecting ideas
  • Preparing for implementation testing
  • Learning from implementation and
  • Supporting innovation

Organisations need more of their people actively engaged in making sense of, and dealing with, this turbulence, and are trying to embed creativity and innovation skills throughout their organisations in order to meet the challenges of change.

We've been asking organisations

(a) which of the 16 innovation capabilities will be most important to them in the future and

(b) how highly they rate their effectiveness at that capability. 

The difference between the two is what we call the 'capability gap'.  And it's increasing across the board.

Download a copy of our report

Find out more about the trends around innovation capabilities by downloading our report (and what our seven recommendations are for how to make sure innovation has more impact in your business).

download innovation capabilities report