Industry myopia culls innovation. People who grow in one industry or cycle, through only one industry may seem safe to hire. Industry dinosaurs may fill a slot quicker or bring competitive advantage, but industry myopia rarely meets innovation need. Innovation needs to break things, to start over, and to view things from new angles.
If you want to change thinking, change the thinkers, because you can not change if nothing changes.
Industry myopia is business risk.
Innovation Depends on Breaking Things
New organization growth relies on fresh thinking and challenges the comfort of many. A long-standing trend, out of step with today’s talent market, are job roles written to prioritize recruiting people with industry-specific experience at the cost of great technical skills.
Organizations stress to managers, who in turn stress to their talent, the need for innovative thinking and entrepreneurial ways of doing things. When we look to hire industry-only experts, we exclude a whole range of great talent; talent that can provide cross-industry pollination of ideas, styles, and solutions: innovation.
Innovative people bring innovative ideas far more than innovative processes bring innovative ideas. Businesses and operations bandy about innovation and entrepreneurial thoughts as the cure-all to compete and to survive today. However, innovation is risk. Entrepreneurs are risk takers.
A Fortune 500 company that calls out the need for innovation and entrepreneurial, but shies from hiring talent from other industries is an organization surviving on rhetoric.
Risk relies on diversity. Risk relies on failure. Hierarchy resists risk. Hierarchies rely on repeatability, not variance. Risk is variance.
Risk is Not a Process
For more than 10 years I’ve consulted on human capital and continue to run against the tide when I advocate hiring outstanding talent no matter the industry. Someone with great technical skill, but from a different industry has all the ability to ramp up and learn any industry-specific particulars.
Why convert a financial information technology (IT) expert into the health care IT world? The upside for your team or department from an experienced financial IT professional in a health care world is the outside perspective, the specific challenge to, “that’s the way health care work
Someone can learn an industry far easier than learning a technical skill or bring practiced competence from repeated delivery. I can learn industry demands of financial services quicker than I can learn and successfully implement organization change.
Refreshed thinking is the by-product of an industry move with new ways that things get done. When a company looks to fill a role, bringing together a diverse group means cognitive diversity and brings new solutions. This collaborative excellence is diversity and this is what innovation relies on.
When hiring managers or HR directors insist on 5, 10, 20 years of single industry-related experience in their job requisitions this myopia stems from fear. When hiring requirements go through recruiters to cull candidates hiring managers are not aligned to today’s mobile workforce and today’s need for innovation: diversity.
An organization surrenders in the war for talent when a company can not strategically hire from other industries.