in Considerations, Innovation

A tale of wasted talents

I have been deeply immersed in service and experience design with big companies for at least the last ten years. It has been a very exciting journey with the usual highs and lows, and I have been playing both the client and supplier role in different occasions.

I had a big opportunity to work on innovation programs with some of the biggest companies around the world and even if I should have learnt something I am still very surprised by something I would like to share with you.

I can say for sure that I have met plenty of talented people; most of them definitely more talented than I really am. you can bet all of these people were excited about being involved in innovation programs and during our work they were really committed, and, usually, great contributors to the successful completion of the programs we were working on.

One of the most common comments I gather during social time was ‘gosh, if we could only do this kind of things as our day job’. At the very beginning, I was taking the comment as it was reported to me. No big deal. An innovation workshop is exciting and fun. Work on a new product does not happen very often, and it’s great to be an active part of it.

In recent time, I started thinking deeply about that, especially in relation to my recent talks about creativity, and why most people think they can’t be creative. (If you are curious have a look here)

I ended up thinking that most of them were not really complaining about how boring was their day by day job.

They meant that their talent was wasted and they could not understand why.

I started thinking about it, and I ended up with the idea that the main problem is that the most of us are hired just to fill a position in an organization. A position has attached a very well defined job description that makes clear what the company and your manager expects from you.

With a great simplification, we can say that the company is, in most cases, paying you for your skills, not your talent. Truth being said this is not true in pure creative environments like Sketchin, just to name one :-).

If you think about it, you can easily understand that most resumes are built around skills, not talents. We are usually very surprised by creative resumes even if we usually relegate those to the domain of extravaganza.

Well, that extravaganza is the one thing that can save your company from oblivion.

The final result is that your talent is wasted, and that’s very very sad.

When I interview people, I do very quick skills checking in advance, sometimes asking for portfolios or asking to work on a case study. I give skills almost for grant. What you have to convince me upon is that you have talents that I can nurture in our environment.

Yes, we are a very unusual kind of organization, but that’s why it’s so fun to work with us.

Original photo by rbwr – Original Photo

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