Making Innovation HR's Avocation

By Lorrie Lykins

The news is full of heady stories these days about corporations focusing with razor-sharp acuity on innovation. From the Wall Street Journal to stories on NPR, innovation is being touted as a key factor in resuscitating the economy and keeping the U.S. in the game in terms of global competition. As we have noted in recent TrendWatchers, the ubiquitous "I-word" indeed seems to be everywhere. Before you dismiss this as the latest fad du jour, consider the very real investment organizations are making in innovation.

Just this past week, Verizon Wireless opened the doors of its new Innovation Center in suburban Boston, where 300 engineers and developers will focus their efforts solely on the pursuit of creativity and innovation. Also this week, Cisco Systems announced a major reorganization that will streamline operations, with the goal of facilitating innovation and faster cycles of getting new products to market. And Campbell Soup Company announced plans to pour $30 million into building a new innovation center at its Pepperidge Farm facilities in Norwalk, Conn. "This investment is the latest step in our effort to drive increased innovation and create new products to delight consumers," a press release noted.

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