Thursday, 29 October 2009

Jim Collins - going from Great to Good

A wonderful interview with Jim Collins (author of Good to Great) on why organisations fail and what HR can do, from the CIPD

Innovation Beehive on Money Magpie Blog

We are thrilled that financial expert Jasmine Birtles has posted our post on Cancelling Christmas on the fantastic Money Magpie website. Check it out at

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Cancelling the Christmas party

This week a survey of 1000 British firms revealed that four out of five are cancelling the Christmas party and another survey found that half of the firms asked are still undecided.

HR professionals are usually concerning themselves with making sure that no inappropriate behaviour takes place after a few too many glasses of wine, with the photocopier room beckoning, but in this age of new austerity, they are being asked by the CEO to advise on 'what it will look like if we have a do this year'.

The Forum of Private Business is urging companies to go ahead with the festivities with spokesperson Phil McCabe pointing out that a huge number of businesses rely on the Christmas festivities for survival. He pointed out that

"they are a valuable way of saying thank you to staff during this turbulent time".

Leading the way in this Scrooge like behaviour is the BBC which last year halved Christmas budgets from £50 to £25. Now staff will get nothing.

We also fear that by scrapping even a modest budget for a few peanuts and crackers will result in managers dipping into their own pockets, or worst still, fiddling an expense report to charge the party under a different cost line (which could end in dismissal if it is spotted by the Finance Department).

We have been lucky enough to spend time with Tim Smit, founder of The Eden Project. He says that "something magical happens when co-workers break bread together" and insists that teams have a meal together every few months (he calls it "working by winelight").

The HR profession has spent the last few years talking about Employee Engagement and how it can impact on the bottom line. After such a depressing 2009 for many employees, we feel they deserve the opportunity to break some bread together, have a few drinks and watch the CEO dance like your uncle at a cheesy wedding. Don't you?

Monday, 26 October 2009

SWA going the extra mile

We have all heard about the legendary service of Texan based South West Airline (if you haven't you should read a copy of "Wow"). Here is a fabulous clip from UTube where the air stewards sing to the passengers. They say they want people who work there to take their jobs seriously, but not themselves. We think that this clip proves the Recruitment strategy is working

A little tour of the Google Complex

If you ever fancied what goes on at Mountain View, then check out this fun video (it only lasts a few minutes)

Friday, 23 October 2009

Tesco Store go self-service

We have a dilemma here at The Innovation Beehive. We firmly believe that people deliver the brand experience, yet we are also all about Innovation differentiating you in the market place. Tesco has unveiled a store with only self-service check outs. Great economy I am sure, but where is the brand experience?

How GE does reverse innovation

A great little podcast from HBR and Tuck School of Business with insights into GE's innovation process.

Especially interesting points on how to run local teams to drive Innovation.

Download it to your iphone and next time you are doing the Sainsbury run....

Monday, 19 October 2009

Creativity can change behvaviour

We love this simple experiment conducted in Denmark. Could creative thinking change behaviour and get people to walk up the stairs rather than use the escalator? Yes. Find out how

BT Graduate Progreamme

Those of you who attended our Consult/Innovation Beehive breakfast last year on How HR can add value in the Recession will remember that we made a plea for companies not to stop Graduate Recruitment. Shortly after the press reported that BT was to stop its Graduate Programme for 2010. We were delighted to read in People Management (24th September) they will recruit 130 university leavers this year. Great news. New talent brings a fresh perspective to an organisation and is vital to its innovative competitiveness.

Employment Law Gone Mad?

A US pizza chain has been ordered to pay for weight loss surgery for a member of staff who injured himself at work and has to undergo surgery. Adam Childers injured himself on a fridge door at work and Boston Gourmet Pizza offered to pay for back surgery. In order to go through the surgery he must undergo weight loss surgery and the Indiana Court of Appeal has ruled that Boston Gourmet Pizza is liable for the additional $25k costs.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Visa Europe and HCM blogpost

We were really excited that Jon Ingham in his fantastic blog has written about The Innovation Beehive/Consult HR Event we held a few weeks ago.

If you want to find out how Visa Europe align personal values to organisational values to deliver a peak performing organisation, check out:

Sunday Times Women in the Boardroom

Why are there so few women in Boardroom roles? Janet Street-Porter thinks it's about self confidence. Check out this piece on The Sunday Times for more:

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

How Pixar foster Creativity - from HBR

The Idea in Brief

A robot falls in love in a post-apocalyptic world. A French rat sets out to become a chef. A suburban family of superheroes defeats a power-hungry villain. Unexpected ideas, all—yet Pixar Animation Studios is turning these and other novel ideas into blockbuster films.

How? As Catmull explains, Pixar’s leaders have discovered potent practices for structuring and operating a creative organization. For example, they give writers, artists, and other “creatives” enormous leeway to make decisions. They make it safe for people to share unfinished work with peers, who provide candid feedback. And they conduct project post-mortems in ways that extract the most valuable lessons for mitigating risk on subsequent projects.

The effort has paid off. Pixar’s has racked up a unique track record of success: It’s the leading pioneer in computer animation. It has never had to buy scripts or movie ideas from outside. And since 1995, it has released seven films—all of which became huge hits.

The Idea in Practice

Catmull suggests these principles for managing your creative organization:

Empower your creatives. Give your creative people control over every stage of idea development.

Example: At most studios, a specialized development department generates new movie ideas. Pixar assembles cross-company teams for this purpose. Teams comprise directors, writers, artists, and storyboard people who originate and refine ideas until they have potential to become great films. The development department’s job? Find people who’ll work effectively together. Ensure healthy social dynamics in the team. Help the team solve problems.

Create a peer culture. Encourage people throughout your company to help each other produce their best work.

Example: At Pixar, daily animation work is shown in an incomplete state to the whole crew. This process helps people get over any embarrassment about sharing unfinished work—so they become even more creative. It enables creative leads to communicate important points to the entire crew at once. And it’s inspiring: a highly innovative piece of animation sparks others to raise their game.

Free up communication. The most efficient way to resolve the numerous problems that arise in any complex project is to trust people to address difficulties directly, without having to get permission. So, give everyone the freedom to communicate with anyone.

Example: Within Pixar, members of any department can approach anyone in another department to solve problems, without having to go through “proper” channels. Managers understand they don’t always have to be the first to know about something going on in their realm, and that it’s okay to walk into a meeting and be surprised.

Craft a learning environment. Reinforce the mind-set that you’re all learning—and it’s fun to learn together.

Example: “Pixar University” trains people in multiple skills as they advance in their careers. It also offers optional courses (screenplay writing, drawing, sculpting) so people from different disciplines can interact and appreciate what each other does.

Get more out of post-mortems. Many people dislike project post-mortems. They’d rather talk about what went right than what went wrong. And after investing extensive time on the project, they’d like to move on. Structure your post-mortems to stimulate discussion.

Example: Pixar asks post-mortem participants to list the top five things they’d do again and the top five they wouldn’t do. The positive-negative balance makes it a safer environment to explore every aspect of the project. Participants also bring in lots of performance data—including metrics such as how often something had to be reworked. Data further stimulate discussion and challenge assumptions based on subjective impressions.

My old Yum! colleague Douglas MacDonald has just set up a fantastic on line career management system called Dekasu

He says:

"Dekasu is a free-to-use career management toolkit designed to give you the advantage you need in today's competitive job market. We provide a secure record of your career history, tools to easily generate tailored CVs and other career development resources.

Part of Dekasu's appeal is our proprietary matching technology. It is a totally new way to find your next position. You specify the profile of your ideal next role (function, sector, location, package etc). We identify the employers who will contact you directly.

The name Dekasu is a Japanese word meaning 'to accomplish' or 'to achieve'. We feel it neatly captures what our members are all about — hard work, intelligence & focus on reaching their career goals."

Check it out

Final Preparations

Tomorrow we are hosting the third in our series of HR network breakfasts in partnership with Michelle Lawton of Consult HR. We have speakers from Visa Europe and T5 discussing how to drive organisational performance. We will post up the main points of the presentations tomorrow, so watch this space. For more details on Consult HR check out

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Email ruined my life

A nice little show from BBC Money programme on how email can impact on productivity and five golden rules to deal with it

Monday, 5 October 2009

Google Recruitment Video

A little video from Google used in Recruitment. A bit stilted, but some insights

Zappos having fun at work

Everyone seems to be talking about Zappos and what a great company it is, what an amazing culture it has and tales of great customer service. We will be posting our thoughts on it in a few weeks, but in the meantime, here is an example of how they create a great place to work. It's just a few office colleagues having a joke but the fact they can do it, film it and post it on u-tube says a lot about the company culture.

Stay tuned for a more detailed piece of

Saturday, 3 October 2009

The Power of Time Off and Desgin Thinking at TED Talks

Stefan Sagmeister, a New York based designer, talks about taking a year off every seven years. From TED Global

And Tim Brown from IDEO talks about Design Thinking

Friday, 2 October 2009

Innovation Beehive/Consult HR Event

Press Release

Consult-HR Executive and The Innovation Beehive are delighted to announce the third in our series of Breakfast Round Tables for Senior Human Resource professionals delivered this year. The event, on October 8th, will be held at Visa Europe’s Offices in London will focus on how Human Resources can contribute to “Delivering Outstanding Organisational Performance”. Previous events have covered the role of Human Resources in an economic downturn. Events for 2010 will include Creating an Innovation Culture and Using Social Media in your Recruitment Strategy.

Speakers at the event include:

Derrick Ahlfeldt is the Senior VP of HR for Visa Europe. He will be speaking about Visa Europe’s “My Story” programme that has successfully aligned employees individual values and aspirations with Visa’s values and aspirations. This has driven employee engagement to over 90% and customer satisfaction to 8 on a 10-point scale.

Sharon Doherty, Group HR and Organisational Effectiveness Director at Laing O’Rourke. Sharon will discuss her time as Head of Organisational Effectiveness during the construction of Terminal 5, at that time the biggest construction project in Europe. The ground breaking Terminal 5 Agreement demanded ground breaking management thinking. She will share the lessons learnt from this mega project and how it was delivered on time, on budget and safely.