Edison would be proud of HR vendor innovation (and the SEO Center)

One of my favorite Silicon Valley tech journalists is Chris O’Brien. His columns are refreshing and optimistic in an otherwise sauerkraut-gone-bad business climate.

His latest article is all about the lessons Edison left us about innovation and building a solid business.

I love the first line of the article:

Thomas Edison, the spiritual godfather of Silicon Valley, still has a lot to teach us about innovation and entrepreneurship.

I think that’s especially true in the HR marketplace. Most things workforce management have taken a significant hit over the past year, particularly recruitment and hiring, but as I mentioned before in my podcasts and previous posts there are definitely ice age hot spots in our space.

This is a perfect opportunity for vendors to reinvest in their products and services and their current customers. Besides immediate cost cutting that includes layoffs, salary reductions, furloughs, organizations are doing everything they can to improve workflow processes, decrease administrative waste and increase revenue per employee.

What a better time for vendors to develop innovative new products and services. Whether it’s adapting to mobile technology like Workday and mjob, or incorporating social networking platforms for better employee communication and collaboration like SilkRoad Technology, or launching a new SEO Center that will help HR vendors improve their company's SEO and track their keyword rankings on Google, Yahoo, and MSN like HRmarketer.com – get busy kids!

(And don’t forget the marketing; you have to be found online. Or your competitors will.)

According to O’Brien’s article, Edison developed a clear, repeatable system that he applied to a range of problems, through every stage of his work, from the lab to the marketing of a new product.

Based on a 2007 book by Sarah Miller Caldicott, Edison's great-grandniece, and Michael J. Gelb titled Innovate Like Edison: The Success System of America's Greatest Inventor, here are five basic lessons we can learn from Edison:
And lastly according to O’Brien, it's worth remembering that Edison's life spanned several periods of financial panic and economic upheaval. Yet he never let them stop him.

Organizations will always have to tend to their talent, so opportunity abounds for HR vendors to innovate and partner with their client organizations – not just sell them the same old software or services.

Post by Kevin Grossman (join me on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn)

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