I’m in Las Vegas attending KronosWorks 2014 which is the user conference for Kronos customers. There are about 2,500 global attendees here (including IT, HR, and Payroll professionals) making it to the top of all-time attendance numbers for the event.
Yesterday’s opening general session featured Adam Savage, co-host of the TV series “MythBusters” speaking on the topic “Art vs. Science: Not a Contest.”
His talk took us through a discussion about how we often view art and science to be opposites; one is liberating and warm, while the other is methodical, rigid and cold. His assessment however is that art and science are not opposites and in fact they are dependent upon each other.
I thought this was a fascinating conversation starter for attendees at a technology focused human resources conference. Prior to heading off to sessions about configuring workforce absence alerts or mobile solutions (a bit methodical, no?) we in the audience thought about inspiration and talent and the formation of ideas.
I liked it.
After all, an HR professional, in my estimation, will be successful when she allows imagination and creativity to co-exist with pragmatism and analysis. And I’m not sure if we, collectively as human resources professionals, do that very well. We compartmentalize what we view as conflicting personal skill sets: “I’m a numbers person so I work in comp” or “I’m creative so choose to work in recruitment marketing.”
This has taken us to a point where HR practitioners and leaders often believe that creativity is only allowed – or valuable – for certain activities: employee recognition or, occasionally, recruiting initiatives. The approach to other HR/people activities – the foundational, functional areas of HR – is often in lockstep with the past as we end up maintaining the status quo: rigid, unchanging, disciplined and structured.
But new discoveries await. Yes…even in HR. Adam Savage put it this way:
- Start with an idea.
- Develop a hypothesis.
- Test it.
- Learn from it.
Thinking further about this, what it means to me is:
- Begin with your knowledge.
- Expand what you know.
- Question it.
- Explore it.
- Don’t limit yourself to art OR science.
- Let your mind wander.
- Be curious.
- Question everything.
- Ask “what if we do……?”
- Ask “what if we don’t……?”
It’s neither art nor science exclusively.
They’re complimentary. And they’re both necessary.
“Culture is a conversation and art and science are the mechanisms by which we have those conversations.” Adam Savage