Monday, February 6, 2017

CIOs as Chief Innovation Officer: Where are the Innovation Hot Spots?

Innovation happens at the intersection of people, process, technology, customers, and business ecosystem.

Digital is the age of innovation. And innovation is what leads to differentiation. Different organizations have their own “innovation strength.” There are many ways to differentiate and, therefore, there are many ways to pursue innovation. The innovation-generating organization depends more heavily on its technological knowledge and market capabilities to develop and commercialize innovations; the innovation-adopting organization relies more on its managerial and organizational capabilities to select and assimilate innovations. IT organizations strive to become the innovation hub of the businesses, CIOs as Chief Innovation Officer: Where are the innovation hot spots and can you identify them?

An innovation happens when you change the game; you bring a different twist to what is currently established and perceived: Innovation breakthroughs that really hit the spot are nearly always (1) respond to a true human need, (2) ride on emerging trends 3) simplify business models and (4) combine all the firm’s capabilities in a unique way to wow customers and build entry barriers. The broader the scope, scale, and impact of the change, the more one leans towards calling such change an innovation. Innovation happens when an innovator challenges the rules of the game, accelerates knowledge transfers and goes outside the industry to invent a radical new way to respond to the 'job to be done.'

Innovation happens in which the business interact with customers: Digital is the age of customers: What are the opportunities to change, how should you interact with customers and each other? Think like customers and let the business know how digital technologies can change the way to do business. Focusing on customers' needs should be an easier path to grow the innovation fruit. Innovation can also be categorized into the ideas that result from the clash of consumers and producers are more likely to be out of the box and disruptive, more readily identifiable as innovation. If you're going to innovate without knowledge of "evident customer needs," then "the things that you are good at may distract you to build something which can really increase customer value and help the business success for the long term.  

Innovation happens at the intersection of business and IT: With emergent digital technologies and consumerization of IT, and the whole consumerization of IT movement has largely focused on IT getting its arms around the trend and 'managing' it. Innovation happens at the intersection of business and IT. IT has a great opportunity here to lead the business transformation. Rather than wait for businesses to tell IT what they want, IT needs to proactively work with the business and partners upon the great new digital technologies which can change the business and fuel innovation engine. That has the added benefit of steering businesses toward things IT recommends to use. Businesses love to see IT getting deeply immersed in the new apps, devices, and solutions and make internal customers more productive, collaborative and smart. To run an innovative IT organization, the more difficult challenge is not just launching successful teams, but maintaining the motivation and focus of the people to do more with innovation.

Innovation happens at the intersection of IT and people: The intersection of IT and people is where innovation happens; companies need to invest in IT necessary to advance businesses through either incremental or radical innovation. Some additional innovation variables that might merit consideration are the scope, scale, and impact of the changes. Digital IT is in the unique position to oversee the underlying functions and processes which underpin innovation capability. Hence, IT plays a crucial role to scale up innovation practices, amplify innovation effect, build up the innovation framework which enables the business to manage innovation in a structural way, and set up the innovation platform for empowering people to contribute and keeping the idea flow. IT can achieve the innovation excellence if IT is regarded as a strategic business partner and given the role in catalyzing innovation and driving the business transformation.

Innovation becomes possible only if people can step out of their comfort zone: Innovation happens only at the organization with the culture of authenticity to encourage idea sharing and risk-taking; you can feel the creative tension when you see it, when you sense the freedom to be creative, the harmony not via compliance only, but through idea sharing. Part of creating an organizational environment that facilitates creativity involves paying attention to employee well-being and building individual emotional intelligence to generate more positive emotions and reduce unnecessary organizational pressures; empower your innovation leaders and recognize your innovation champions. Build a culture of innovation and encourage free thinking and experimenting, have the right dose of creative tension and healthy competition to spark innovation.

Though innovation happens more often from bottom up, but the spirit comes from the top. The top management sponsorship is crucial to discover the more hotspots of innovation and build the culture of innovation. IT can strive to become the innovation hub for connecting more wider creative dots. The purpose of Innovation Management is just so simple: If you work hard, have a good idea, and deliver value to your customers, you will build the differentiative organizational competency and bring the long-term business prosperity.


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