Inventor Portrait: Steven Sasson from David Friedman on Vimeo.

I’m writing this as I hope to get it featured in the UK HR blog carnival, which is about When potential comes to fruition. I was fortunate enough to hear a presentation by Peter Hinssen at last week’s HR Tech Conference Europe. It was a great presentation that looked at how technology is changing and the impact this is having on societies and businesses.

During his presentation he talked about companies that had been innovative and ahead of the market and very successful but that had fallen on hard times and either been bought or had disappeared altogether. He was making the point about change and how organisations will continually need to reinvent themselves to stay in business.

In this list of companies was Polaroid, Kodak and Motorola. The Kodak story stood out. Why? Because one engineer held the key to the company’s success. Steven Sasson invented the digital camera whilst at Kodak back in 1975 (see video above). The only problem was that – for a variety of reasons – they failed to develop his ideas. Kodak was a pioneer of digital photographic technology and yet it failed to capitalise on this (more on the company’s demise here) – and look what happened to the company as a result.

Hinssen also made the point that organisations probably all have their Steve Sassons, but do they even realise this and do they encourage and nurture them?

My conclusion from hearing about Steve Sasson:  there is huge potential in all organisations. In fact, all your employees have a lot to offer. BUT, do you really know what they have to offer and are open to what they offer, do you support and encourage them and share what they can – and do – offer the business?