Saturday, June 25, 2016

Closing Three Gaps to Run an Innovative IT

Innovation becomes simply “creating value by solving simple or complex problems.”

Digital CIOs have many personas indicated in the “I” of the CIO title, “Chief Innovation Officer” is one of the most pertinent roles they need to fulfill, Because more often than not, technology is the disruptive force of innovation, and information is the very clue about developing the next and best products or service, as well as delighting customers. A great CIO with their finger on the pulse of technological advancement or information insight can provide many ideas on how new technology and abundance of information can create fresh new opportunities. The point is: What are innovation gaps organizations need to bridge, how can a CIO build a solid innovation agenda, and play such a digital role more effectively?

Idea gaps: Innovation becomes simply “creating value by solving simple or complex problems.” It’s the state of mind to think and do things from a new angle, and it’s the business unique capability to gain a competitive advantage in the face of hyper-fierce competition and business dynamic. If there is an idea gap, it means the root cause of the gap may have something to do with corporate culture. An adaptive culture makes innovation and improvement easier, it’s easier to collect, facilitate, and manage ideas more optimally. Also, if you get the culture right, then people feel they have the freedom to try and even to fail. There are many forms of innovation: technology, application, product, design, business model, process, communication, customer experience, etc. If you develop the right culture, through effective change management if necessary, and then everything else can be connected. The cause of the idea gap is also about the talent gap. The heterogeneous team with cognitive differences is more innovative than the homogeneous group setting. With building a culture of innovation and risk tolerance, people are more open to trying new things and share thoughts and ideas fearlessly so the fountain of ideas can flow effortlessly.

Process gap: Innovation is not serendipity, it takes a systematic approach with a robust, but not overly rigid process to implement it. When the ideas have been developed or when they are able to be applied to meet a short-term objective, then they should be pushed through an efficient execution process. The agile innovation processes and efficient tools enable the idea flow of generation, brainstorming, contribution, evaluation, selection, and innovation execution stays totally connected. More organizations look for integration with portfolio management tools to ensure the ideas go straight from the systems into specialized tools to help manage the portfolio of potential projects, set the right priority, and leverage time and resource for improving the success rate of innovation.

Innovation execution gap: Even you have ample innovative ideas, it doesn’t guarantee innovation success due to the possible execution gap. Bridging innovation execution gap requires a systematic execution scenario with clear stages, performance thresholds, decision-making parameters combined with the iterative learning process that supports wide-ranging exploration at each stage. Further, innovation execution is an integral part of business strategy execution, because innovation is an important component of organizational strategy. Hence, to bridge the innovation execution gap is to de-risk the introduction of innovation into the market, protecting existing operations and brands, and establishing clear proof-of-concept before making investments to launch and scale up. Organizations can be more effective in executing innovative ideas by relying less on silo functions, more on cross-functional collaboration and continuous improvement. Innovation execution is an integral part of a strategy-execution continuum.

Leading only with operational considerations is not the way forward. IT success needs to be accompanied by working with business partners to inspire creativity, and leverage opportunities for changing how the business competes in the marketplace. Running IT as an innovation engine needs to close these gaps, keep the balance of business bottom line and taking innovation practice, in order to unleash the full digital potential of the business.


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