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Announcing the Johns Hopkins University Human Capital Development Lab

Why it matters:

The Johns Hopkins University Human Capital Development Lab collaborates across disciplines to address workforce complexities, foster research on human capital challenges, and bridge the gap between researchers and practitioners in organizational success.

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The Human Capital Development Lab (HCD Lab) supports the advancement of insights to improve our understanding and leadership of human capital systems. The lab seeks to address the current challenges that affect the sustainable development of human capital around the world.

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This post was originally written by the team at the Human Capital Development Lab.

Johns Hopkins Carey Business School is excited about the newest research focus on human capital development. In collaboration with the School of Medicine, School of Education, and School of Advanced International Studies, the Human Capital Development Lab assembles experts on talent management, organizational behavior and leadership, wellbeing, and health and international policy to unpack the multifaceted and often interlaced complexities of building a thriving and equitable workforce.

This lab bears testament to Johns Hopkins’ commitment to address deep-rooted societal and structural issues and foster interdisciplinary research. We are a proud recipient of the inaugural Nexus Awards, a university-wide initiative to support convening, research, and teaching anchored at Carey Business School’s new D.C. home at 555 Pennsylvania Ave.NW.

 “The ways we work individually and together have changed dramatically just in the last few years, and will continue to evolve,” said Carey Business School Dean Alex Triantis. “The Human Capital Development Lab is uniquely positioned to gather the best minds in human capital leadership, put research to work, and be a partner in the future of an organization’s most valuable asset – its people.”

While people are at the heart of any successful organization, they are also susceptible to systemic shocks and changes in socioeconomic expectations. The HCD Lab emerged amid increasing needs in business, organizations, and nations as they work to address the human capital challenges of today and the planning for new solutions tomorrow. In an era when rapid disruptions have become the new normal, no organization can sustain itself unless the human capital needs are met. Therefore, leaders need a deep understanding of the nuanced challenges. Additionally, it’s vital to build seamless exchange between researchers and practitioners. The HCD Lab takes on this responsibility and strives to be the conduit for solutions.

"The Human Capital Development Lab is uniquely positioned to gather the best minds in human capital leadership, put research to work, and be a partner in the future of an organization’s most valuable asset – its people."

Alexander Triantis, PhD, Dean, Johns Hopkins Carey Business School

Carey Professor Rick Smith leads the HCD Lab. He brings more than 35 years of global experience in business and human capital development. With Smith, an extraordinary group of faculty and researchers from various disciplines will advance the lab’s research agenda and work to find solutions to the challenges its member organizations bring.

"I am honored to lead this cross-disciplinary effort to enrich our collective understanding of human capital in the AI era," said Smith. "Johns Hopkins' outstanding scholarship on health, education, and policymaking, among others, enables us to tackle questions that transcend disciplinary and national boundaries."

Despite taking a people-centric approach, we at the HCD Lab do not just look at an organization’s people in isolation. Instead, we view human capital development as an ecosystem comprised of four important elements: talent, structure, culture, and human capital leadership. This alternative approach to understanding human capital makes the Lab a preferred destination for a diverse group of faculty, researchers, and graduate students who intend to take on problem-driven research.

The HCD Lab is housed in the new Johns Hopkins in D.C. location, a state-of-the-art facility in the heart of the nation’s capital.

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“We wanted to take advantage of the vibrancy of Washington, D.C. as a natural hub for human capital topics as we strive for meaningful engagement with important stakeholders from complementary industries,” Smith said.  

Our first example of this kind of engagement was with the Society of Human Resource Management. We were pleased to host them for an evening, and Smith was pleased to serve as their keynote speaker, during their Visionaries Summit in September.

“The level of engagement and breadth of questions from the attendees were more than inspiring. We are excited to welcome many expressions of interest in partnership,” Smith said.

This was just the first of many events and activities the lab will host. Our website and social media channels will offer details of upcoming programs and offerings soon. In the meantime, we invite human capital leaders and others to connect with the new Johns Hopkins University HCD Lab!


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