Sunday, May 15, 2016

From Information Management to Innovation Management

Innovation, in general, is surely a discipline.

The majority of IT organizations still get stuck at a lower level of IT maturity as a support center. With overflowing information and overwhelming business changes, IT must change -to not just "keep the lights on," but more focus on information and innovation management. What are the logical steps should IT take, and how to manage a balanced innovation portfolio to maximize business value and improve business performance?

A balanced innovation portfolio includes many different types of innovations: Nowadays, technology is often a disruptive force of radical innovation, and the information is the lifeblood to nurture incremental innovation. Hence, IT needs to manage a balanced innovation portfolio including both types of innovations, with many "colors" in between and broader “creativity horizon” from service/process innovation to process/business model innovation to communication/culture innovation. Innovation is "a change that adds stakeholder value.” Now if your stakeholders are internal process owners and your output stakeholders are the same, the type of innovation you have is Continuous Innovation. If you take knowledge from one context and bring it over into a new context, you have knowledge or technology transfer innovation, with a higher possibility to manage a radical innovation. With continuous process improvements, you can reduce costs and increase productivity without increased revenue generation. You are implementing an efficiency innovation. On the other hand, if the change, whether an improvement on an existing process or the addition of an entirely new process, leads to increased revenue generation, either from the expansion of an existing market or the creation of a new market, then it’s more as an evolutionary innovation (the intermediate innovation between radical innovation and incremental innovation.)

From Information management to innovation management: Information may be one of the most time intensive pieces to innovation puzzles. And IT plays a significant role to add those critical pieces properly. Information is growing exponentially, and it is humanly impossible to explore all of the "art" out there about a subject or technology. Information analytics may provide certain customer insight or product foresight for drawing the beams of innovation light. There are some critical pieces of information needed for accelerating idea validation such as facts about business ideas, definition, benefits and shortcomings, applications, and competing technologies. Root causes of business problems need to be solved. The components or operations of ideas, what can interact with ideas, and what parameters the innovative ideas might have? Who else is using such new ideas? Who are the industry players? Do you learn some innovative ideas across the industrial border? Can you also learn what the trend of such new idea is? Identify important technology trends, including potential next-generation innovation waves, as well as the key players who are involved in their development. The original germ of a creative idea is often, if not always arrived at through the interaction of ideas from different domains of thought and experience, or information without boundary. The implementation of the idea has to follow a logical path to the solution of most types of problems since contemporary society tends to follow logically rather than lateral kinds of structures. Therefore, the actual solution to a problem requires both cross-domain (divergent) cognitive processes as well as logical, convergent ones.

Innovation, in general, is surely a discipline: Innovation is not serendipity, but a systematic process to transform novel ideas and achieve their business values. The bulk of data, methods, and approaches involved as well as the complexity of processes encountered speaks in favor of the scientific approach and engineering practices for innovation management. It covers information management, knowledge, and technology transfer, entrepreneurship and it is closely related to several other disciplines. It stands in between management, economy, psychology, sociology, and law, not speaking about disciplines that are related to technologies implemented by the particular innovation. Theoretical treatment of the innovation discipline may give rise to a science -in a sense innovation would be a "cross-science."

The nature of how the "implementation of the idea has to follow a logical path for the solution,” provides a great opportunity for IT to shine based on its scientific discipline. and IT as an information hub could become the hotbed to nurture and incubate great ideas, to design robust, but not overly rigid processes for both idea creation, selection, prioritization, and overall innovation management. From information management to innovation management, IT can build its value proposition from a service provider to an innovation engine, from supporting the business to catalyzing business growth.


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