Sunday, May 27, 2018

IT Innovation and Intrapreneurship

The digital organization is technology driven and information intensive, IT needs to become the linchpin to integrate people, process, and technology into differentiated business competency such as innovation. The art of innovation is to connect wider dots for creating new ideas; the science of innovation is to take a structural approach to innovation management. Thus, IT is the hub to bridge the art and science of innovation. Nowadays, IT is the business in the business and the digital engine of the entire organization. The role of CIO continues to evolve rapidly in the midst of the information in digital transformation. Forward-looking IT organizations should practice intrapreneurship for running IT as a software startup, promoting and sustaining organizational performance, renewal and corporate competitiveness.

Innovation is to reinvent business, but not to reinvent the wheels: Often, innovation happens at the intersection of people and technology. Intrapreneurship is a crucial component in digital IT innovation playbook because the company expects IT to create value on the top-line of the business growth. The great intrapreneur IT leaders can envision how emerging technology trends impact on the business direction and how the exponential growth of information becomes the time-intensive piece of digital innovation. They can articulate the big why behind business initiative clearly, and they can explain the strategic rationale behind the venture. Innovation is more than designing new products or services; it is about how to establish and nurture a way of thinking where innovation is in every aspect of the business. Innovation is to reinvent business, but not to reinvent the wheel. Today’s IT professional should understand that there are only business initiatives, it's important to "keep the end in mind" to either achieve business value. The company is expecting IT to figure out better ways to perform IT lifecycle, whether they are doing hardware, software or a combined integration, with less drain on their organization. IT needs to master the full management cycle of consolidation, modernization, automation, integration, innovation, and optimization to improve its overall maturity. Digital innovation has the broadened scope, IT can enforce the “need” based solution for the new satisfied need of a customer; a “principle” solution with a new method of gaining the same result; or a “scientific” solution with a new technology to solving problems optimally.

Innovation is to convert a problem into an opportunity: Practicing intrapreneurship means enterprise IT should go smarter and flexible, with the culture of risk awareness and tolerance to convert a problem into an opportunity. The business is expecting IT to figure out ways to catalyze business growth, they also expect vendors to deliver flexible, innovative, and high-quality customer-tailored solutions. The entrepreneurial activities help companies develop new businesses that create revenue streams. Entrepreneurship improves company performance by increasing the firm’s pro-activeness and willingness to take risks, capture opportunities, roll it out and measure the result accordingly. Intrapreneurship is about discovering the new path for digital transformation and balancing innovation with other organizational priorities, it presents a possibly even greater challenge--and reward by pioneering the development of new products, processes, and services through enriching its competitiveness.

The heart of innovation is change and innovation is the heart for improvement: Intrapreneurship is about creating new venture from within established organizations to leverage the startup culture for catalyzing changes and inspiring innovation. The heart of entrepreneurship is about changes, and organizations no matter large or small, all face the unprecedented change, uncertainty, velocity, and accelerated business dynamic. Practicing IT intrapreneurship means to harness changes, cultivate innovation culture and learn to generate more novel ideas in diverse teams. To run an innovative IT organization, the more difficult challenge is not just launching successful teams, but maintaining their motivation and focus, cultivate a positive attitude and build a culture of risk tolerance and do more with innovation. Innovation is the heart of improvement, the intrapreneurship activities can improve the organizational growth and profitability, depending on the company’s dynamic environment, their impact will increase over time. Traditional IT is lagging the change, but digital IT organizations need to become the change agent to make continuous improvement. Not every change is innovation, but innovation is always the most wanted change for either driving business growth of delighting people. Running IT or the business as a whole is fundamentally an iterative business change continuum.

Innovation is a mindset and a prerequisite to doing sustainable business these days. Without encouraging creativity or practice intrapreneurship, organizations would be upstaged by the ones that are creative because disruptive innovation will happen no matter how well you prepare. Innovative IT leaders with mental toughness will help an organization become more resilient, nurture the culture of risk intelligence. They can keep opening their mind, bring insightful perspective to stimulate further brainstorming, add a new dimension of visions in making the right choice for balancing the business’s short-term gain and long-term win.

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