Thursday, January 4, 2018

The New Book “12 CIO Personas” Chapter 2 Introduction: The CIO as “Chief Innovation Officer”

Being an innovative CIO means learning fast, being inclusive, embracing multi-viewpoints and taking calculated risks.

Digital is the age of innovation, one of the most appropriate tiles for the CIO is “Chief Innovation Officer,” because digitalization opens the new chapter of innovation. Digital CIOs need to present entrepreneurial spirit, learn to think and lead innovatively, have the right dose of risk appetite and take the calculated risk to accelerate IT performance and unleash its full potential.

IT as an innovative business partner: The CIO must ensure understanding of the business need, and make sure they are able to translate technical needs into business language and become the strategic and innovative business partner. Organizations rely more and more on technologies, the IT organization has more and more to overcome. IT needs to rethink itself as an innovative organization with the digital mantra of “doing more with innovation.” Innovation is not just about technology, innovation is not always equal to the latest gadget, it’s about people, culture, partnership, process, manner, but IT can weave all important business elements into differentiated business competency. To do more with innovation, IT needs to reinvent itself as an integrated part of the business. CIOs should be able to understand how to catalyze business growth innovatively. Running an innovative IT won’t happen with controlling type of thinking, old thinking just leads to a burden of support for operations whereas the true IT potential is in liberating new products, services, and business models.

Learn to creatively disrupt Growth is not possible unless people are willing to move out of their comfort zone. It is often true that unless there is a disruption, people very rarely move out of their comfort zone. Innovators present creatively disruptive traits, disrupt old ways, and inspire better ways to do things. The forward-looking IT organization is the “digital disruptor” of their company because information technology is the disruptive force behind digital innovation. Either disrupting or being disrupted, how successful organizations can handle digital disruptions depends on how promptly and capable they can innovate and adapt to changes. IT leaders should have their staff learn how to creatively disrupt, keep ideas flow and learn to disobey with progressive intention. In fact, the CIO as “Chief Innovation Officer” is never about managing status quo. To be truly creative means challenging norms, beliefs, or best practice. It’s about the desire to make things better and advance, and focus on solving problems effectively.

Take a systematic approach to run a balanced innovation portfolio: Innovation in today’s digital world has become increasingly complex in nature, organizations can no longer rely on a single individual or team to drive innovation. Innovation requires much deeper whole systems, emergent, generative, iterative, and integrative approaches. It requires much more time, energy, passion, courage, experimentation, retreat, and reflection to get clear and focused on the innovative ideas, business models, processes or solutions, and to then enact and execute in a disciplined way. All these require an effective “innovation ecosystem” that is capable of supporting widespread innovations, build the culture of innovation, and hold people accountable for bringing premium innovation results and improving the maturity level of innovation management.

Every organization is different, every innovation initiative is also unique, there is no one size fitting all innovation practice. The highly innovative businesses just do things differently, have the right people in the right place to manage innovation processes, using experience, insight, and judgment to rigorously make needed decisions, to manage a balanced innovation portfolio systematically.


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