In the spring of 2010 in Los Angeles, John Boudreau (author and expert in all things human capital, talent, and HR-related) and I were having lunch. We were discussing the then-recent economic downturn and speculating about its impact on the nature of work, the workforce, and the workplace. Naturally, we wondered “What will be the impact of all these changes and challenges on HR people and the profession, and are we ready?”


By the time we had finished our lunch, we concluded that as much as we loved and admired the HR profession and the people in it, and as proud as we were to be part of it, we were not ready. But we could be.

That day we committed to work together on what we then referred to as “The Future of HR.” It didn’t take us long to discover that they were a number of colleagues, friends, and kindred spirits out there who were having similar conversations and wanted to collaborate. So for the next few years, as time and schedules allowed, we began to meet with dozens of HR and operating leaders to listen, debate, and decide what to do next.

We did some research, identified some emerging themes, wrote some articles and white papers, and ran some “Future of HR” development programs. New ideas and new collaborators kept emerging.

Somewhere along the line, we coined the phrase “Black Holes and White Spaces” to reflect what we were hearing.

  • “Black Holes” symbolized things we had been talking about for years in HR but remain stubbornly unresolved.
  • “White Spaces” were things that got far too little attention from HR, but that must be addressed to have a pivotal impact on the future workplace and the success of HR and organizations.

One day, a good friend and colleague reminded us, “We are all doing great work around our individual campfires. Now it’s time to build a bonfire.” And so a bunch of us did, forming a Core Team to plan and develop the concept further.

Thus the CHREATE Project was born—we went from a couple of guys having lunch, to a handful of colleagues having great discussions, to a half dozen leaders on the Core Team building a real plan, to 25 CHROs coming together for a first summit, to 70 HR leaders working together on multiple projects, to more than 100 volunteers working to build a movement.

CHREATE stands for Global Consortium to Reimagine HR, Employment Alternatives, Talent, and the Enterprise. It represents an incredibly exciting and simple idea: build a volunteer-driven, open source movement to disruptively accelerate the evolution of the HR profession to meet the unprecedented challenges and opportunities of the new world of work.

For three years (and counting), these more 70 exemplary chief HR officers and other leaders committed to recruit colleagues and lead volunteer teams that tackled tough challenges, demonstrated how to address them, and built open-source tools and frameworks for HR leaders and others to use in their organizations. Their efforts were guided by four top priorities:

  1. Align HR with Value Creation for Organizations that Win
  2. Shape Expectations of HR’s Key Constituents
  3. Rewire the Work and Tools of HR
  4. Enhance the HR Talent Pipeline.

The results of their efforts to date can now be found in the FREE eBook Black Holes and White Spaces: Reimagining the Future of Work and HR with the CHREATE Project, published through the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and now available on Amazon.

The eBook describes tools and frameworks that leaders inside and outside the HR profession can use to transform the HR profession and their organizational success. In it you’ll find 26 essays from a wide range of CHREATE Project volunteers, people who have contributed their expertise, time, and passion to raising the bar for the entire HR profession. The essays not only describe the frameworks and tools to disruptively accelerate HR’s progress, they often provide links to prototypes, guides, and tools, residing on the website.

Our objective is to get this eBook as widely distributed as possible. Feel free to publicize it in your own personal networks and on social media with the hashtag #CHREATEeBook. This is an exciting opportunity to advance the movement, and we are so pleased to be able to share the final product.