The Innovation Life Cycle: Mastering the Talent Recruitment Tech Stack Life Cycle

Talent Tech Labs coined the term the “Innovation Life Cycle” which is the cyclical nature of identifying, selecting, implementing and optimizing talent acquisition and recruitment technology. TTL’s Innovation Cycle serves as a progressive framework for undergoing the adoption and implementation of new technologies on a continual basis. By understanding the Innovation Life Cycle as a framework, companies can identify inefficiencies within their talent acquisition ecosystem and solve for these inefficiencies by laying out a pathway to continually innovate their TA tech stack. 

Every company must go through a cycle when tackling a new technology and there are often many challenges to overcome. The talent acquisition technology ecosystem is particularly challenging. With the rapid development of new TA vendors, the TA ecosystem is changing and evolving at a pace that is difficult to keep up with. Due to the overcrowded space, choosing the right TA technology is challenging and there is a greater risk for loss on investment. 

However, by harnessing this framework and understanding where you are in the cycle, you can avoid the pitfalls of higher risks and greater costs. In fact, assessing what stage you are at in the cycle is the first step to a successful TA technology journey. 

The ideal state to obtain in the Innovation Life Cycle is what we refer to as the “Lean Loop.” The Lean Loop is the smoothest way to traverse the Innovation Life Cycle. We will unpack the state of the “Lean Loop” and how to reach this desired point later in this paper. 

We will now dive into the stages of the Cycle: 

Stage 1: Unaware 

Stage 1 Unaware occurs when a new technology enters the recruitment and talent acquisition marketplace, and you possess little to no detail on the functionality, capabilities, or business impact of this technology. The crowded TA tech marketplace makes it inevitable that you will experience the Unaware Stage at some point in your talent acquisition technology journey. 

Many companies and individuals in the Unaware Stage will jump to the next stage of the Cycle before they are fully equipped to do so. Fear of being left behind or desire to be an early adopter will push companies to leap into the next phase too quickly and result in repercussions. 

Stage 2: Reactive Stage 

During this stage, a company rushes to gather an overwhelming amount of information on the technology from various external sources and pieces the details together in a short timeframe. In the Reactive Stage, a company does not take the time to evaluate their particular business problems, needs, and current TA tech stack. 

To illustrate the Reactive Stage, let’s say Company A read a few articles on a new Bots technology and wishes to adopt and implement this technology quickly so they are an early adopter. During the Reactive Stage, Company A is still largely unaware of if this new Bots technology will meet their internal requirements and if the technology will be a good fit for their unique issues. Without looking internally at their inefficiencies or needs, Company A moves forward quickly by undergoing various demos, having the CFO construct a preliminary budget, and solely relying upon the technology company to deliver what they preached in their demos. Since Company A failed to develop awareness of the new Bots technology they are facing high risk by devoting time and resources to demos and budget without adequate knowledge of if the technology is the best fit for them. 

Stage 3: Proactive 

The Proactive Stage occurs when a company becomes more organized and decisive about moving forward with a specific technology. During the Proactive Stage, the company devotes time to writing down their requirements and documents the business problems they wish for the new solution to solve. 

Let’s say in Company A’s case since they failed to evaluate their internal needs they missed a requirement. Company A would then risk valuable time, money, and resources and would most likely receive no return on their investment. 

Stage 4: Active Stage 

After the technology is purchased and the next step is taken, the Active Phase occurs; in this phase the technology goes through the process of implementation. During this phase, the company is working diligently to have the new technology installed and adopted as efficiently and effectively as possible. Implementation is a tremendous undertaking and an enormous transformation across all teams and verticals of the company. 

In this phase, Company A is energized and anxious to implement the new Bots technology. Since implementation during the Active Phase is an all-consuming task Company A is not investigating other technology that can be advantageous to their recruitment tech stack, which will place them behind their competitors. 

Stage 5: Steady Stage 

Once implementation moves to a closure then the Steady Stage approaches. During this phase, implementation is complete, the systems are installed and turned on, and processes begin to stabilize. 

Company A has implemented the new Bots technology and is managing users to have the technology adopted. As the technology is effectively adopted and new measures are in place, a new business requirement emerges. Company A begs the question of can the new technology solve this need? The company decides another technology might best meet this particular business need. A new technology comes up on the radar and then the company enters the process from the Unaware Stage all over again. 


Company A will go through the same vicious process of the Unaware Stage then the Reactive Stage, with the peril of incorrect or incomplete information, wasted time, and no ROI. 

There is a framework that progressive companies can deploy that helps them entirely forgo and avoid the pitfalls of the Unaware and Reactive Stages. 

Companies that conscientiously work to stay aware will be able to navigate their way around the Unaware and Reactive Stages and undergo the Innovation Life Cycle smoothly. We define the Lean Loop as being Aware and Proactive and thus eschewing the Unaware and Reactive Stages. The Lean Loop allows companies to go through the Innovation Life Cycle in a cost-effective and efficient way with better outcomes and return. 


Companies that strive to remain informed and in-the-know are able to move into the Proactive Stage as soon a new requirement emerges. By always being informed on emerging technologies and keeping apprised of the latest talent acquisition trends, companies can gain early vantage points that help them avoid the Unaware and Reactive Stages. Talent Tech Labs is uniquely qualified to be that alert and constantly forward-looking resource companies can rely on.

When a company is in the Proactive Stage they are capable of writing adequate requirements and RFPs that speak to their unique business needs. The company moves swiftly into the Active Stage knowing what vendor meets their respective requirements and will solve their particular business problems. With certainty and minimal wasted motion, the company moves into the Steady State with high credibility, confidence, and proactiveness to take on the next technological opportunity. 

Leveraging TTL’s expertise is the best single way to avoid the costly, time-consuming traverse through Unaware and Reactive stages of the cycle. TTL future-proofs your work during the Proactive and Steady-State Stages through our research and advisory services on selecting, implementing, 

Partnering with Talent Tech Labs gives progressive companies the forward visibility they need to move from Steady State into Proactive without the cost and risk of uncertainty that is normally encountered. 

Reach out today and let us help you assess your process maturity and see how we can help you achieve the Lean Loop.

We hope that exposing this framework for addressing the Life Cycle of Innovation is informative and promotes some introspection on how you can best resource mastering the Lean Loop. 

Key Takeaways:

  • The normal traverse of the Innovation Life Cycle with the stages of Unaware and Reactive is a costly and inefficient process
  • The Unaware and especially the Reactive stages are the most costly consequences when adopting new technologies
  • Avoiding these 2 stages provides you the most efficient way around the cycle- A Lean Loop.
  • It is extremely hard for anyone to stay fully aware of all the trends and emerging technology in the TA space 
  • There is no good time to tune out of building awareness on emerging technologies
  • A trusted unbiased expert can also demystify the marketing babble that may lead you to believe you are already behind- on concepts that are brand new and not really ready to adopt
  • Building Awareness across the entire Proactive, Active, and Steady-State is ideal and achieves process maturity on technology selection 

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