Sunday, May 20, 2018

CIOs as “Chief Innovation Officer”: What are Your Innovation Leadership Digital Principles & Practices?

The evolution of innovation only exists in the open-cultural environments or the hyper-connected ecosystem that creates insight or takes advantage of all sources of creativity in a more open way.

Innovation is the management process to transform novel ideas to achieve their business value. At the heart of innovation is the lifecycle of idea generation, interaction, selection, and learning. Due to the fact that innovating in today’s digital world has become increasingly complex in nature, organizations can no longer rely on a single individual or team to drive innovation. Innovation management requires much deeper whole systems and taking emergent, generative, iterative, integrative, and holistic approaches. Information is one of the most time-intensive pieces of innovation puzzle and technology is the disruptive force behind digital innovation. CIOs as “Chief Innovation Officer”: What are your innovation leadership digital principles and practices?

Ownership over administration: Compared to many other administrative management disciplines, innovation evolves larger risks, needs to strike the right balance of process and flexibility, discipline and disobedience; information and intuition. Therefore, intrapreneur-CIO leaders with ownership mentality are good at managing both opportunities and risks effectively; balancing innovation with other organizational priorities; practicing critical thinking to articulate the strategic rationale behind innovation venture; having the right dose of risk appetite and risk management skills. Digital organizations are flatter and information-driven; with an “every individual as a stakeholder” culture, people are encouraged to think differently and do things differently; align their career goal with the goal of the business, to close the accountability gap through open door listening, improving cross-functional communication & collaboration. Therefore, once people agree with the WHY, they can develop their own level or means of participating. Self-management encourages people figuring out better ways to do things, ownership over the administration, thus, it drives the culture of innovation.

People over tools: Digital is the age of people-centricity. Innovation happens at the intersection point of people and technology. Thus, people-centricity should be another critical component in the IT innovation playbook. The innovation capability of the business is built through the alignment of people, process, and technology. To reinvent IT as the innovation hub, it is not just about using the latest technology gadgets or tools, it is about how to engage and empower customers for innovating; people over tools, empowering and enabling over control. Information is refined to capture business insight and foresight; technology is being leveraged every day to digitize the touch point of customer experience. People should be the center of innovation management and they are the major focus for innovation process and accomplishment. In practice, people-centric innovation means that you have to involve customers and different stakeholders, listen to their feedback, involve them in both idea generation and process implementation, to gain insight and empathy, to take different propositions and approaches to a problem or a new interpretation, with the goal to build a high-innovative and high mature digital organization.


Communities over competition: Although the certain level of healthy competition stimulates idea generation, unhealthy competitions, such as internal competitions for limited resources or budget between different departments, on the other hand, might stifle innovation or decelerate the speed. Digital business has the “open” nature, open innovation is about ensuring that business has access to the maximum number of potentially good ideas for building new innovative products/services/business models/solutions. This means having a very good internal program and it also means sourcing a lot of ideas from external partners. The goal isn't to be cheaper and it isn't to be just democratized, it is to ensure that as many of the good ideas as possible to flow in. Highly innovative organizations try to digitally connect key assets or context to the idea-rich innovation hubs and community-based cluster across enterprise ecosystems, engage varying conversations and listening outside-in customers’ viewpoint.  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 differentiated ideas and capture value they could not reach alone, communities over competitions. These innovative conversations may not directly provide you the solutions but offer you a fresh insight into your goals, processes, and invaluable context. Digital innovation effort and then can be scaled up, to solve bigger and tougher problems.

The evolution of innovation only exists in the open-cultural environments or the hyper-connected ecosystem that creates insight or takes advantage of all sources of creativity in a more open way. Innovative leadership practices are not rigid, but flexible enough to adapt to the situation and the players involved. It means doing unexpected, unconventional things or leverage alternative methods to connect wider dots, empower, inspire, and engage people in participating, breaking down outdated rules, and maximize the potential of the digital organization.

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