Saturday, December 9, 2017

CIOs as “Chief Innovation Officer”: Can you carry the Innovation Ecosystem on your Shoulder?

Innovation needs to lay out different thinking, structures, and solutions to develop in its potential.

One of the most critical roles of contemporary CIOs is “Chief Innovation Officer.” Innovation shouldn’t be a serendipity, but a management process. IT can help to weave an enriched innovation ecosystem which enables systematic innovation management, with critical components such as innovation leadership, culture, processes, tools, recognition systems measurements, and risk approach. Each component by itself may not cause a highly innovative environment, but collectively they can catalyze creativity and improve innovation success rate. An innovation ecosystem should fully cover a wide enough direction and embrace the full spectrum of innovation categories. Here are three questions CIOs need to keep asking themselves to ensure they can carry the innovation ecosystem on their shoulder.

WHAT does the organization innovate: To effectively respond to the digital dynamics, companies must begin thinking about ways to broaden their ecosystems and revenue streams while becoming more responsive and innovative. From IT-driven innovation management perspective, an open information platform enables companies to integrate critical components of a smart platform, which is open and powerful only because it allows information exchange and participants involvement, but also because it ensures that interdependencies and loyalties between partners are taken into account and build up a strong innovation engine. Such a powerful innovation platform can further evolve to weave a dynamic innovation ecosystem. Instead of being rigidly grouped around a specific function or business, ecosystems draw together mutually supportive companies from multiple industries that collectively seek to create differentiated ideas and capture value they could not reach alone. Therefore, innovation effort can be scaled up, to solve bigger and tougher problems, and innovation effect can be amplified to touch more people, businesses, industries, and societies. Innovation ecosystem or the methodological environment should cover the whole innovation process, from processes in managing ideas or idea handling systems to idea implementation and promotion. It is a set of means including methods that cover the process from the problem's choice till commercialization.

WHERE should the organization innovate: Due to the increasing pace of changes, innovation can happen anywhere across the organization and its ecosystem. When looking at businesses or organizations, the most powerful innovation navigation system involves tapping the organization's ecosystem for collective perspectives or insights of those who make up and know intimately their parts of the system. Innovation happens in which the business interacts with customers. Focusing on customers' needs should be an easier path to grow the innovation fruit. People-centric innovation is in strong demand because digital is the age of choice. Innovation also happens at the intersection of business and IT. 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 to delight customers and engage employees. IT has a great opportunity here to catalyze innovation and lead business transformation. IT is uniquely positioned to observe processes across the enterprise to connect the innovation dots. Sometimes when one business area has a new product or service that can be used by another, IT leaders can scale up innovation practices and amplify innovation effect.

How to enable systematic innovation management: Today’s information technology enables companies to leverage their various environments, or ecosystems, to chase innovation opportunities, take structural innovation approach, and accelerate innovation performance. Innovation needs to lay out different thinking, structures, and solutions to develop in its potential where organizations are combining all that is available to them in imaginative and advantageous ways. Due to the fact that innovating in today’s digital world has become increasingly complex in nature, often, organizations can no longer rely on a single individual or team to drive innovation. It is important to be able to co-create in a digital ecosystem. A co-creation strategy treats customers, channel partners, suppliers, and industry ecosystem participants as active agents who have permission to combine the modular capabilities exposed in a platform to create new experiences or ideas and develop them into full fruity. Every organization needs to develop tailored innovation practices via leveraging effective technologies, tools or methodologies and apply them wisely with the expertise to really add value or drive innovation. Thus, companies need to invest in IT necessary to advance businesses through either incremental or radical innovation.

The evolution of innovation only exists in more open environments or the ecosystem that create insight, take advantage of all sources of creativity in a more open way and leap innovation management to the next level. The ultimate innovation isn't what you do; it's what you deliver for results, and how being innovative becomes the state of mind. CIOs as “Chief Innovation Officer” should be able to carry innovation ecosystem on their shoulder, build a culture of innovation to encourage free thinking and experimenting, have the right dose of creative tension and healthy competition to spark creativity and expedite innovation.


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