Articles & Case Studies by Topic

Recruiting & Training

Topic Overview: Recruiting & Training

Why do companies draft people as innovation leaders and team members who already work within their walls? Most innovation teams are small and their budgets are tight. There’s also a feeling that understanding the culture — and the levers of getting stuff done — is crucial.

But bringing in new perspectives and skillsets not currently represented within the organization can be a key to long-term success — whether it’s an entrepreneur who has experience with pop-up retail or a data scientist who can nimbly sift through massive collections of transaction data. Big challenges: winning the necessary budget; working with (or around) human resources to reach the right candidates; creating appealing compensation packages; and developing high-impact innovation training programs both for newbies and company veterans.

The biggest collection of our work on recruiting talent is our report, “Hiring Innovators: How Innovation Teams Bring on Top Talent,” which includes more than 20 recent job descriptions and advice from companies such as Target, Starbucks, Visa, Hospital Corp. of America, Reliant Energy, MassMutual, Draeger, and Kimberly-Clark. You may also want to consult our most recent Benchmarking Report and Compensation Survey, which covers team size and structure, as well as what percentage of employees receive innovation training.

Editor's Picks: Recommended articles on recruiting talent, compensation, and training
Innovation Leader Live

Our live conference calls that have focused on recruiting talent and training:

Downloadable resources shared by our members

Relevant documents from our Resource Center, shared by members:

The Resource Center includes many more org charts and job descriptions.

All Innovation Leader articles & case studies on recruiting and team-building:

Q&A: Who Should be on Your Innovation Team?

We asked our community: How do you think about who should be on your innovation team — what kind of roles, and where do you find them? Here’s a summary of the top answers…

How a Team at Intel Tackled a Big Challenge: Transforming Hiring and Work Habits

Jennifer Monnig spent the past three years leading an innovation team within the HR organization at Intel Corp. that sought to create a healthier and more collaborative culture, focused on getting things done in new ways. In 2017, that team has moved on to other projects, but much of its output has become integrated into the way that Intel operates today. “Some experiments lasted no longer than the experiment itself,” Monnig says, “but we’ve learned from everything.” She wrote this piece for Innovation Leader to capture some of those learnings.

Webcast Replay: Creating a Curriculum to Develop Innovation Leaders

Led by Stephanie Simon, the hour-long webcast covered the training program’s objectives, timeline, staffing, skills taught, external resources used, and the learnings so far. Watch the replay…

Staples CTO on chatbots, recruiting tech talent, retail shifts, and a smarter Easy Button

The future of retail, in Faisal Masud’s view, doesn’t force the customer to do anything the customer doesn’t want to do. That includes keeping shopping lists, poking around websites, getting into a car, or roaming the aisles of a store. It may even include placing an order, if intelligent software can accurately guess what the customer needs based on past purchasing patterns. Highlights and audio from our conversation…

Photos: Inside the Hatchery, the innovation lab at AARP

As part of our next Field Study learning expedition, we’ll visit the Hatchery, the innovation lab at AARP. AARP is not only one of the largest nonprofits in the country, but it’s also one of the biggest insurers and magazine publishers. We talked about what happens inside the Hatchery with Andy Miller, the SVP for Innovation and Product Development at AARP.

Learnings and slides from Pfizer’s work to foster a culture of innovation

What happens if lots of divisions in a global company come up with their own approach to innovation? “If you don’t have a common vernacular, if you don’t have a common culture, if you don’t have the same frame of reference,” says Pfizer exec Dan Seewald, “then you lose the scalability and the impact of having one program, one mindset, and one social movement.” Inside, details on the Pfizer “Dare to Try” innovation initiative, which Seewald oversees.

Cardinal Health SVP offers a look inside customer-focused Fuse lab

“When you come to Fuse, it’s all about the customers. It’s customer-in,” says Cardinal Health SVP and CTO Brent Stutz. Visiting employees and executives “leave their business unit affiliations and their badges behind.” Here’s a look inside…

How ESPN is using data to call the plays

George Leimer, VP of Fantasy Sports and Premium Products at ESPN, discusses how the sports network is working to build a data and metrics-oriented culture, enabling analysis to replace hunches when it comes to developing and refining new products and services.

Deep dive: How the innovation champions program works at telecom giant Vodafone

Vodafone’s Jerry Spann and Ashoka’s Sarah Jefferson lay out the key design principles for Vodafone’s global innovation champions program, as well as the benefits of the approach for the company, its customers, and its employees. Today, a network that started out with just eight champions has grown to over 70 champions and “Innovation Agents.”

Members recommend the best options for online innovation training

One of our members in the financial services industry had a question recently about delivering online innovation education to a global workforce. She was considering both pre-recorded online courses as well as vendors who could conduct live virtual training. Here are the options that others recommended considering — as well as their comments…

Amex exec Lei Chen on building new capabilities and spreading a ‘growth mindset’

In her position as VP of New Capabilities Innovation, Lei Chen was at the helm of a brand new team. She viewed the role as having three main components, and task number one was to “make sure we have the right talent in place to embrace the innovation that’s opened up by technology.” Here’s what she focused on…

Six tips from Eastman Innovation Lab on managing a distributed team

Managing a distributed team comes with its own set of challenges. Creative manager Farrell Calabrese shares six tips and tools she uses to manage the Eastman Innovation Lab, part of $9.5 billion Eastman Chemical.

Achieving impact in a large organization: Advice from your peers

We recently brought together a group of twenty senior innovation, product, and strategy executives in Manhattan, in collaboration with our partner Mindjet. The goal: to discuss how to create sustainable innovation programs that deliver big results. Here are twenty pieces of advice from the group…

Six innovation agenda items for 2016

How are you going to make change and deliver results in 2016? Whether you work in an innovation group, new product development, strategy, or R&D, we believe that these issues deserve a place on your agenda for the year ahead.

Audio: Nondini Naqui on hiring for MassMutual’s Society of Grownups

Nondini Naqui, CEO of Society of Grownups, a “learning initiative” of the insurer MassMutual, talks a bit about how the new venture’s separate culture and separate office space has helped her attract the talent she needs — including software developers.

Hiring Report: What’s Inside

Our latest report, “Hiring Innovators: How Innovation Teams Bring on Top Talent,” explores how some of the most successful companies are getting the budget they need; describing the roles they’ve created; working with HR — and promoting openings on their own; evaluating candidates; and integrating new hires into the organization. It also includes more than 20 recent job descriptions. Download it here…

How Elon Musk builds organizations that can achieve anything

We talk to Ashlee Vance, author of a new book about Musk, about how the founder of SpaceX, Tesla, and SolarCity hires people, battles bureaucracy, and dispatches problems fast.

Data: How big are innovation teams at the largest companies?

Sharing some “bonus data” that came out of our recent benchmarking survey, fielded in partnership with Innosight. How large are the innovation teams at the largest companies? Here’s what our respondents who worked at companies with greater than $25 billion in annual revenues told us…

Webcast replay: Fidelity VP on tools for innovation teams

“If you just talk a lot about innovation and make a lot of noise, it can backfire,” says Rick Smyers, VP of the Center for Accelerated Innovation at Fidelity Investments. “People can hear a lot about it and think, ‘It’s just another management fad. It’ll go away.'” Smyers explains in this webcast how you can put the right strategy, tools, and people in place to make a real impact — and details some of his team’s successful projects.

Google execs share slides on innovation, culture, and hiring

A click-worthy slide presentation from Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt and former SVP of Product Jonathan Rosenberg. Among their insights: “Most companies today are run to minimize risk, not maximize freedom and speed.” That approach “is a vestige of an era when failure was expensive, and deliberation was a virtue.”

How Ingersoll Rand hires, trains, tests and prioritizes innovation

Listen to our recent “Innovation Leader Live” call with Michael Wynblatt, VP of Innovation & Emerging Technology at Ingersoll Rand, the $12.3 billion industrial giant. In the audio, Michael discuses the complexities of his role; how he creates and tests innovation hypotheses; training and capability-building; metrics; priorities; hiring and more.

AECOM shares an innovation video it uses with new hires

How do you get new hires to contribute to a culture of innovation from Day One? Warwick Absolon of industrial giant AECOM shares a video the $8.2 billion company produced as part of orientation for new employees in its Australia and New Zealand division.

Exclusive compensation survey: How innovation execs are paid

What’s the average salary for a VP Innovation? What about Directors or Catalysts? Does company size or reporting structure impact pay? Find out in our first-ever compensation survey of innovation leaders, complete with salaries, bonuses, and performance metrics.

Reader seeks your input: How do you hire innovation staffers?

A request for your input: how have you successfully hired people for your innovation team (or the corporate ventures group) when the HR organization isn’t experienced in recruiting for or hiring those kinds of people?

Job descriptions: Technology companies

We’re assembling collection of job descriptions for a wide array of innovation-related roles, including in the technology sector. We hope it’ll be useful as you’re trying to build out your own innovation team — or to see how other companies have set up the innovation function, who innovation leaders report to, etc. And we welcome contributions from you…

Job descriptions: Professional services

We’re assembling collection of job descriptions for a wide array of innovation-related roles, including in professional services. We hope it’ll be useful as you’re trying to build out your own innovation team — or to see how other companies describe how innovation organizations are structured, who innovation leaders report to, etc. We invite more contributions from you…

Job descriptions: Healthcare and pharma

We’re assembling collection of job descriptions for a wide array of innovation-related roles, including in healthcare, medicine, pharmaceuticals, and biotech. We hope it’ll be useful as you’re trying to build out your own innovation team — or to see how other companies describe what innovation means to them, who innovation leaders report to, etc. We welcome contributions from you, too…

Job descriptions: Manufacturing

We’re assembling collection of job descriptions for a wide array of innovation-related roles, including in the manufacturing industry. We hope it’ll be useful as you’re trying to build out your own innovation team — or to see how other companies describe what innovation means to them, who innovation leaders report to, etc. And we’d like to hear from you, too…

Job descriptions: Government, non-profits, education

We’re assembling collection of job descriptions for a wide array of innovation-related roles, including in the non-profit, government, and education sectors. We hope it’ll be useful as you’re trying to build out your own innovation team — or to see how other companies describe what innovation means to them, who innovation leaders report to, etc. If you’ve got others, send ’em our way…

Job descriptions: Food and consumer packaged goods

We’re assembling collection of job descriptions for a wide array of innovation-related roles, including in the food, beauty, and consumer packaged goods industries. We hope it’ll be useful as you’re trying to build out your own innovation team — or to see how other companies describe what innovation means to them, who innovation leaders report to, etc. Do you have some job descriptions you’ve used? Share ’em…

Job descriptions: Financial services, insurance, payments

We’re assembling collection of job descriptions for a wide array of innovation-related roles, including in the financial services, insurance, and payments industries. We hope it’ll be useful as you’re trying to build out your own innovation team — or to see how other companies describe what innovation means to them, who innovation leaders report to, etc. We welcome your submissions, too.

Job descriptions: Aerospace and Defense

We’re collecting job descriptions for a wide array of innovation-related roles, including in the aerospace and defense industries. We hope it’ll be useful as you’re trying to build out your own innovation team — or to see how other companies describe what innovation means to them, who innovation leaders report to, etc. We’d love to hear from you…

Job descriptions: Advertising and Marketing

We’re assembling collection of job descriptions for a wide array of innovation-related roles, including in the advertising and marketing industries. We hope it’ll be useful as you’re trying to build out your own innovation team — or to see how other companies describe what innovation means to them, who innovation leaders report to, etc. And we’re looking for input from you…