chapter  8
22 Pages

Skills and Innovation: Lawrence Green, Barbara Jones and Ian Miles


The rate, extent and success of innovation in organizations (and in society at large) is linked intimately with the presence and availability of trained and skilled workers. Such individuals generate and apply knowledge, intelligence, techniques and ideas in the creation of novel products and development of new processes, and in so doing, contribute crucially to the effi ciency and competitive advantage of the organizations, sectors and regions in which they work. Not surprisingly, a long-term push towards enhancement of the stock of innovation-related skills can be seen across all developed economies, with enhanced linkages between the education and training sector and employer organizations a key priority in the policy environment. In addition, the importance of certain forms of skillsespecially problem-solving, technical and collaborative working skills-is acknowledged across the spectrum of industrial and public agencies, and organizations across all sectors have demonstrated an eagerness to build the specialist capabilities that are expected to sustain and grow their operations. Thus, it can be suggested with some confi dence that the centrality of a skilled workforce to innovative and competitive enterprise has never been more clear. This assertion is certainly accepted in the policy community, where urgent calls for a swelling of the human capital and skills pools have resonated increasingly loudly in unfolding political discourse.