Information technology (IT) support for managing competence is based on a rationalistic view of competence. While these competence systems might work in rationalistic organizations, we argue that in more dynamic settings, such as in innovative organizations, the interest-informed actions that capture the emergent competencies of tomorrow require different types of IT support. We theorize about these two separate forms of organizations and use them as a means to interpret and classify empirical findings from an action case study of an implemented interest-activated recommender system prototype. The interviews show that competence is perceived as complex and multifaceted and three categories emerge: competence as a formal merit; interest as a complementary aspect of competence; and interest as something that transcends competence. The findings offer an empirical platform for rethinking competence systems for innovative organizations. We suggest a new design rationale promoting systems that are able to detect, visualize and leverage interests of organizational members.