Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Accelerate IT Driven Innovation via Three lenses

An innovation happens when you change the game; you bring a different twist to what is currently established and perceived. 

Many IT organizations are still struggling to keep it relevant and moving up its maturity from a cost center to a revenue generator; from a support function to a business partner. Innovative organizations today have to explore the full spectrum of innovations and deploy a range of different management, technology, process, and structural solutions. An innovation happens when you change the game; you bring a different twist to what is currently established and perceived. How to accelerate IT-driven innovation via different lenses?

The business lenses: IT is the means to the end, technology is often the disruptive force behind digital innovation, and exponential growth of information is the gold mine all forward-looking organizations across the industrial sectors dig into in order to capture the next growth opportunities or avoid the potential risks. The highly innovative organizations depend more heavily on its technological knowledge and market capabilities to develop and commercialize innovation. Thus, IT leaders need to break down the IT thinking box and clarify innovation management goals via the multitude of business perspectives: Are you talking about the enterprise-wide innovation via leveraging information and technology for getting the entire business to work together on new business opportunities? Can you manage a balanced digital innovation portfolio to make an impact on the company scope? Can you identify the barriers or pitfalls on the way stopping you from improving innovation management effectiveness? CIOs should think as an intrapreneur and act as a startup manager, go out and talk with varying shareholders, business executives and customers to know their pains and gains and understand their tastes and current and future needs, for sparking more innovative ideas and managing innovation from the business lenses. In practice, the logical scenario to drive innovation within an organization is to commit it, develop the differentiated business capability to innovate, from discovery to development and deployment. By empowering IT and leveraging digital platforms and technologies, businesses can be more effective in executing innovative ideas, relying less on silo functions, and more on cross-functional collaboration and innovation.

The customer lenses: Digital is the age of customers, focusing on customer needs should be the right path to grow the innovation fruit. Innovation is to transform novel ideas for achieving its commercial values. Innovation happens at the intersection of people and technology. Innovation is in the eye of the beholder -customers. Customers must be willing to pay for it, be it a products/processes/services innovation. If you're going to innovate without knowledge of "evident customer needs," and then the things that you are good at may distract you to build something which can really increase customer value and help the business success for the long term. Thus, people must be the center of innovation, and the outside-in view is more important for people-centric innovation because you need to understand how customers encounter, observe, or undergo their stage of purchasing experience, and then come out the innovative ideas to delight them. The only test for whether it is or is not an innovation is whether it makes any difference to a dimension that is valued by whoever has a stake in your offering. The biggest challenge to business success is IT and IT has to do more with people-centric innovation to propel the business growth and profitability. It’s important to first understand your customers and what they value, and then identify how to best characterize that value through IT innovation management. Responding to the true human need is the very goal of doing innovation. When managing innovation life cycle, customer involvement at all stages often elicits highly valuable information.

The digital ecosystem lenses: Digital ecosystem is dynamic, expansive, interdependent, and hyperconnected. Many companies have never been better positioned to engage in multi-industry collaborations to enforce innovation, especially breakthrough innovations. But few leaders can think out of the static industry box due to limited knowledge or traditional management training. CIOs are in the unique position to oversee the cross-functional business functions and IT is the fabric to connect the dots in the digital ecosystem. Thus, they should look to businesses outside their industry to spur “out-of-the-box thinking,” and inspire dot-connecting innovation capability. Today’s technology enables companies to leverage their various environments, or ecosystems, to chase innovation and accelerate performance. Instead of being rigidly grouped around a specific function or business, ecosystems draw together mutually supportive companies from multiple industries that collectively seek to create the differentiated value they could not reach alone. They treat customers, channel partners, suppliers, and industry ecosystem participants as active digital agents who have permission to combine the modular capabilities exposed in a platform to create new experiences and brainstorm fresh ideas for overcoming the common challenges. High-mature digital businesses and emerging markets offer particularly fertile ground for developing cross-industry ecosystems and innovation opportunities. Thus, digital CIOs are on the unique position to see things via the digital ecosystem lenses, either for scaling their innovation practices or discovering the blue ocean to catching more IT-driven innovation opportunities and managing digital innovation portfolio holistically.

Innovation is the differentiated business capability enabling the business to ride on emerging trends and beat down competition effortlessly. The reach and range flexibility that now exists in the business removes barriers that have existed in the past and provides important opportunities to digitize and innovate IT and leverage IT to get the entire business ready for opening the new chapter of digital innovation.




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