Leveraging Your Talent for Innovation

Leveraging Your Talent for Innovation

The world is now entering the third wave of digital innovation, leveling up out of the internet & connectivity era into what the World Economic Forum is calling the “Fourth Industrial Revolution”.

Since digital innovation began back in the 1980’s with the first wave – the era of personal computing – Australia, & other countries too, with some pockets of success aside, have largely failed to cash in on the opportunities it has brought compared to many other countries.

Yet, we all have the talent to maximize the potential share talent can bring, here in  Australia, we have an industry worth $315 billion in the next 10 years according to the CSIRO Data61 Report & we need to ensure that we don’t miss out! 

“Our reputation for innovation & research is spotless. It’s well past time we started cashing in on our talent”

Yet, whilst technology can improve productivity, the significant amount of turbulence in the business environment is causing most organizations to grapple with the complexity & unpredictability of what it might mean to “cash in” on their talent, within a globally changing workforce & environment.

Quantifying your talent opportunity

The third wave is flagged globally as a “$10-$15 trillion global opportunity” & alphaBeta’s report has identified a potential share for Australian industry worth $315 billion of that over the next 10 years & that there are even more digital opportunities opening up in the next 10 years.

Right now, ABS & OECD stats show Australian digital innovation has so far managed to capture just 7.4% of its GDP – for the rest of the world’s advanced economies, that figure is at 11.2% of GDP & running away.

So what can you & your organization do about it, no matter where you are located.

Maximizing the talent opportunity

  1. Put Talent at the intersection of Strategy, Technology & Digital Change

Incorporate a strategic focus on the people side of innovation, putting talent at the core of your strategy as a powerful enabler of systemic change through:

  • Outlining a clear why it is important for people to adapt & grow in the face of disruptive change.
  • Outlining an inclusive vision, mission & strategy that support speed, agility, learning, collaboration, teaming & networking – as the key levers for effecting organizational productivity & performance improvements.
  • Aligning behaviors, systems, processes, artifacts & technological changes outlined in Josh Bersin’s “Flow of Work” diagram below.



  1. Acknowledge that some people are struggling to embrace the changes of digital innovation

Create new ways of interacting with people & stakeholders to be present to, & hear their concerns, acknowledging that many are becoming psychologically uncomfortable, anxious, confused & conflicted about the speed & constancy of change.

According to Josh Bersin;

  • Businesses & their people are feeling overwhelmed – yet the shift to productivity requires future human intelligence’s & technologies to simplify our work lives.
  • The pace of work is accelerating – yet the shift to digital is putting even more pressure on business leaders & their people as existing career & organizational models are continuing to evolve.
  • We are all way too busy – we are now negotiating with an electronic boss every minute: our phones.
  • AI is making systems conversational – yet the growing use of AI-related technologies is expanding as their expertise in conversational robotic intelligence powers, casing us to question as to how will they be designed & implemented?
  • Design, critical & creative thinking are here to help – making learning a work-related intervention rather than a work interruption.
  • Coaching people to improve their performance & achieve better results, especially in applying new ideas “on the job” & implementing high value projects.
  1. Acknowledge that the desired changes begin with coaching mindset change

Mindsets influence & capture how we think, feel, decide & how we act as individuals, teams & as whole organizations. Our ability to connect to ourselves, & to others, how we feel, think & make choices & on the behaviours & actions we take & the results we get.

Our mindsets are unconsciously managed by our autonomic nervous system – which means that people’s readiness & resistance are unconscious & neurologically based.  This requires very specialised & skilled coaching support, to align, enable, empower & maximize talents potential in this new world.

To coach people to take responsibility & effectively deal with their range of reactive responses, & their individual & collective struggles with change led digital innovation including proactively resolving people’s;

  • Disengagement & Avoidance; which results in creating a culture of blame, shame, retribution & envy where no-one flourishes.
  • Complacency & Comfort; resulting in inertia & innovation permafrost where no-one progresses or evolves.
  • Alignment Issues; where people feel disconnected by lack of clarity to the why, meaning & purpose of the desired changes so seldom bring their best selves to work.
  • Emotive & Safety Issues; where people are fearful & anxious about the change & their ability to adapt, control or survive within this brave new world so shut down to possibilities change might bring.
  • Cognitive Blindness & Biases; where people are negative & cynical about change, because they have heard it all before or make up their own meaning about it.
  • Distortion; where the lack of clear communication, trust, meaning & a cultural legacy of punishment & retribution inhibits people’s abilities to take smart risks, make mistakes & learn from failure.

To then provide people with specialized & empathetic coaching support to pull people towards cultivating useful, powerful & resourceful mindsets & more useful responses in times of organizational change & growth.

Including enabling them to take personal responsibility towards developing & applying new foundations for innovation mindsets.

To then support them to learn by doing, on the job, so that they know what it means to be & think differently in any situation to improve their performance & productivity.

  1. Acknowledge that the nature & flow of work has changed & work with it

Referring again to Josh Bersin’s Flow of Work diagram above, he recommends that organizations might deal with these aspects by;

  • Looking outwards – engaging more with people, customers & stakeholders.
  • Prizing delegation & not controlling – sharing decision making.
  • Encouraging boldness over caution – taking risks, failing fast & learning.
  • Taking more action, less planning – committing to adaptation & continuous iteration.
  • Valuing collaboration over individual effort.
  • Embracing & fostering connectedness.
  1. Provide coaching support to “cash in” on developing people’s capability to be, think & do things differently through structured coaching & team based learning programs;
  • Make learning a work-related “on the job” intervention through customised blended learning programs that are team & project based.
  • Develop a safe learning environment where people feel safe & trusted to experiment & learn from their mistakes.
  • Provide formal, structured mentoring & coaching support that fosters & enables fresh & different thinking, creative problem solving & collaborative business practices.
  • Incorporate, promote & reward specific, the core desired mindset shifts, behavioural changes & new business practices.

Finding the balance

Deloitte’s Readiness Report reveals that the majority of business leaders surveyed acknowledged that they were uncertain they have the right talent to be successful in this new era of technological advancement as only;

  • 25% are highly confident that their workforce has the skill sets needed for the future.
  • 14% are highly confident in their ability to harness the changes associated with Industry 4.0.

So what are you willing to boldly do, in your organization to;

Flourish in uncertain times, strategically finding the right balance of humans & machines, in ways that complement each other to improve both performance & productivity?

Re-design roles & cultivate people’s multiple intelligence’s & maximize your organizations’ potential to adapt & grow in disruptive times?


Join the next free monthly webinar in our Making Innovation a Habit Series –  Innovation Coaching. It’s on Wednesday, 12th December at 5.00pm Sydney & Melbourne, 7.00am Amsterdam, 6.00am London, 10.00am Dubai, 2.00pm Hong Kong.  Register Now.

Get the Change Planning Toolkit from Braden Kelley

Image credit: RiseSmart

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janet-sernackJanet Sernack is an ICF ACC accredited executive coach, corporate trainer, group facilitator and culture and change consultant with some of Australia’s and Israel’s top 100 companies. She is the Founder of ImagineNation™ an innovation education company that provides innovation e-learning programs including The Coach for Innovators Certified Program™ experiential learning events including The Start-Up Game™. Follow @JanetSernack

Janet Sernack

Janet is the Founder of ImagineNation™ a coaching, education & culture consulting company who leads the way and helps businesses achieve their innovation goals by challenging businesses to be, think & act differently to create a world where people matter & innovation is the norm.




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