Friday, July 14, 2017

Three Aspects to Enforce IT Innovation

Innovation is about moving forward. In any business, if you are not moving forward, you are moving backward.

Innovation, as an individual process or collective processes, is about figuring out the better way to do things; it helps us adapt, improve, grow and integrate. From the business perspective, innovation is the mechanism through which you grow and evolve something to something great with higher value-add or ever breakthrough or something new or better based on a combination or modification of previous attributes or approaches. Businesses, especially the well-established large corporations and within that environment, innovations can range from small to game changers. As more often than not, information technology is the disruptive force behind digital innovations, and thus, forward-thinking IT organizations strive to become the innovation hub of the business. Here are three aspects of enforcing IT innovation and building it into the business competency.  


Gap-minding: Innovation is simply about how to transform new ideas and achieve its business value. Because different organizations are on the different stage of the business life cycle, so they have different strengths and capabilities to innovate, innovative skills and capabilities an organization always needs depend on the circumstances the business is in. It is important for the business to identify the gaps in innovation management and build innovation as the core business competency. Innovation comes with a risk of failure, usually not well tolerated in a market governed by risk-allergic mindset. From innovation leadership perspective, when business leaders, goes beyond short-term gain, take a calculated risk and make a long-term investment, organizations have a better opportunity to achieve the business results from innovation. At the different stage of innovation management, innovation managers need to identify different gaps and close them to move forward. For example, at the stage of idea creation, to minding innovation gaps, the diverse team with cognitive differences is more successful and is always going to be more creative as it has more to draw on. The gap between the discovery, driving, and delivery driven innovation management are critical and often leads to conflicts, deluding the idea transfer. When moving forward, many companies form and grow on the basis of "idea creation," but then get bogged down when trying to "commercialize" those ideas, because it requires a different skill set, focus, and mentality. If a company's focus swings too far to the commercialization side of the equation, then innovation suffers and vice-versa. Therefore, to keep ideas flow and improve innovation effectiveness, organizations have to be prepared to lose some to gain more for the longer term and manage innovation resource, talent, cost, timeline, etc. in a structural way.

Dots connection: Digital is the age of options, it provides the opportunity to think the new way to do things, that is the essence of innovation. It means IT has to experiment the better way to do things, encourage creativity because digital transformation efforts need to be undertaken as the means of getting to a defined differentiated capability to accomplish a defined goal and build innovation as the core competency. Digital transformation represents a break from the past, with a high level of impact and complexity. To reinvent IT as an innovation hub, IT leaders need to be proactive and get really creative on how they architect and implement changes, to ensure IT is strategically positioned to be ahead of where the business is moving now. From IT management perspective, innovation is more science than art. The science of innovation is to manage innovation life cycle and execute in a systematic manner that provides sustained competitive advantage. In order to make a solid digital transformation, there are so many seemly paradoxical, but indeed coherent business elements need to be blended in forming the magic “innovation formula.” (if there is the one) Therefore, CIOs should look to businesses outside their industry to spur “out-of-the-box thinking,” and inspire dot-connecting innovation capability. The reach and range flexibility that now exists in the business removes barriers that have existed in the past, and provide important opportunities to digitize and innovate IT, as well as leverage IT to get the entire business ready for opening the new chapter of digital innovation.


Simplification: The business becomes more complex than ever. The scope of IT is broadening daily, social and environmental needs are increasingly driving the type of access people require. Simplification has to be part of the long-term game that an IT leader needs to play. Because progress is in simplification. Thus, IT should reinvent itself via following the simplicity principle, to keep IT digital fit, IT leaders need to continue to weed out redundancy, pay more attention to technical excellence and do more with innovation. Indeed, there needs to be a strong leadership team to work seamlessly, breakdown the silo and bureaucracy. IT should keep things simple even though complexity is an innate nature of technology. IT needs to keep things simple via consolidation, integration, modernization, optimization. There are always constraints, so simplicity implies to build as little as possible. When pioneering and solving problems, initial solutions are often more complex than required, and then adoption and progress come with simplification. Running a simplified and innovative IT means to improve IT organizational maturity from functioning (could still have a lot of redundancy) to firm (work solidly), to delight.  


Innovation is about moving forward. In any business, if you are not moving forward, you are moving backward. There is no standing still. The science of innovation is to manage innovation life cycle and executes in a systematic manner that provides sustained competitive advantage. IT is the key element of business innovation. Either disrupt or being disrupted. IT is at an inflection point to lead the organizational level digital transformation. IT innovation capabilities directly impact how it helps the business gain competitive advantage and capture upcoming trend to compete for the future.

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