Wednesday, December 9, 2015

CIO’s Digital Agenda XI - Running IT as an Innovation Engine

The CIO as "Chief Innovation Officer," is the most pertinent title for digital IT leaders today.

 Majority of IT organizations today are still running at industrial speed, stick at the low or mid level of maturity, although technology is more often than not, the disruptive force for business and industry innovation, IT organizations seem to have a tendency to align with the slow changing parts of the organization, so how should CIOs prepare for the digital disruption and speed up accordingly?  Here is the CIO’s Digital Agenda to run IT as an innovation engine:

Running IT as an Innovation Engine

How to Run an Innovative IT? Modern IT continues to move up its maturity from a reactive helpdesk, back-office function into a proactive business partner and innovation engine. What are the tips and stories to create a culture of innovation? What are the innovation implications when IT leverages the Cloud model? How shall IT assess their partners for delivering innovative business solutions, should the business pay IT for being innovative thereby enabling business proactively?

CIO’s Innovation Agenda: Modern CIOs have many personas indicated in the magic “I” of CIO title, Chief Innovation Officer is one of the most pertinent roles, because so much business innovation these days is enabled by technology, a good CIO with their finger on the pulse of technological advancement or information insight can provide many ideas on how new tech and abundance of info could create fresh business opportunities. CIOs are uniquely positioned to drive business innovation because of their vantage point in digital transformation. But how can CIO build a solid innovation agenda, and play such a new role more effectively?

Innovation vs. Continuous Improvement: Innovation is the larger umbrella term that encompasses continuous improvement, innovation is also expanding its horizon, goes beyond products/services innovation, it could mean business model/process /culture/leadership innovation, as well. They are either the same or different in many ways.

Three Aspects of IT Innovation: Most of the forward-thinking IT organizations are experiencing the digital shift from ‘built to last’ to ‘design to change’; from a back-office support function to a value creator and innovation engine. But how to manage such a digital transformation more seamlessly, what is the primary role of the CIO in harnessing IT innovation and building IT competency and maturity?

IT Paradox: Should Creativity and Process go Hand in Hand?  Today, organizations have to compete on a global scale and creativity is not only valuable from a products/service standpoint, but can also add efficiency or effectiveness to IT operations, improving business-IT communication, innovate business culture, and provide for outside-the-box problem-solving capability as well.

How to Maximize the Returns on IT Innovations? Businesses today face fiery competition and rapid digital shift either technologically or economically, most of the organizations are focusing on improving margins by reducing the bottom-line cost rather than top-line growth; as innovation and risk are proportional, improving efficiency takes a little creativity and risk, while working on innovation effort usually takes higher risks and creativity. Still, forward-looking companies will spend more resource on innovation investment in order to reap the fruit for out beating competitors and gaining long term advantage. So the question is how to maximize returns on innovation, specifically, IT innovations, as overall IT project has much lower success rate than other business initiatives.

What are the Pitfalls in Measuring Innovative IT Effectively? IT as an enterprise group is in a bigger identity crisis than ever, the industrial mode of IT running as a cost center no longer satisfies stakeholders and business partner anymore; the digital mode of IT means speed, agility, and innovation. IT needs to become business’s innovation engine, as the intersection of IT and people is where innovation happens! Companies need to invest in IT necessary to make the business advances through either incremental or radical innovation! However, what are the pitfalls in measuring such innovative IT effectively?

IT is well Positioned to be the Innovation Nerve Center of the Organization. The traditional role of CIOs is to manage information, IT systems, and cost, now with information is permeating into every corner of business and digital technologies are more often the cause of innovation disruption, IT has itself transformed to creating a new competitive advantage, new products, and new services. But many of today’s C-suites are unaware of what is technologically possible now or in the future, so do you think IT is well positioned to be the innovation nerve center yet?

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