Sunday, March 18, 2018

Running IT as Innovation Glue

 IT is the super glue to integrate people, processes, and technologies into unique business competencies such as innovation. 

Nowadays, information is the lifeblood of the business and technologies are the disruptive forces behind digital innovation. The highly innovative organizations depend more heavily on its technological knowledge and IT-enabled capabilities to develop and commercialize innovation. IT is the super glue to weave all important business elements seamlessly for building the unique business competency, manage a balanced innovation portfolio and improve innovation success rate.

IT needs to become the business’s innovation glue, rather than just tools:
Digital is the age of innovation, “keep the lights on” only is simply not sufficient to run a digital IT organization. The ultimate success of IT should be evaluated on how IT is able to deliver innovative products/services or helps to reinvent the business model and solve problems creatively. IT is the only entity in the organization supposed to understand business entirely, be able to connect the wider dots for sparking creativity; and function as the glue or linchpin to integrate important business elements seamlessly. IT also plays a crucial role in creating a disciplined and managed space for developing and testing new models, products, and business approaches. The science of innovation is to manage innovation lifecycle and executes in a systematic manner that provides sustained competitive advantage. In fact, IT needs to do both right, innovation and standardization. On one side, shield innovation teams from the organization’s dominant logic, practice “out-of-the-box” thinking, develop the culture of innovation. The three managerial tools for creating a culture of innovation are policies, programs, and structures. IT is the glue to integrate them seamlessly. On the other side, IT needs to manage the business process, follow the business logic and establish the standard processes and procedures for improving business efficiency. The crux of the question is what an IT leader must plan for, articulate and, of course, execute to match the demands of the business and customers, and leverage IT funding to innovating for the business's long-term prosperity and success.

IT helps to glue up the innovation framework which enables the business to manage innovation in a structural way: Digital innovation has a broader spectrum and diverse taste. The broader the scope, scale, and impact of the change, the more one leans towards calling such change an innovation. IT plays a crucial role in scaling up innovation practices, amplifying innovation effect, and setting up the innovation platform for empowering people to contribute and keeping the idea flow. The appropriately configured innovation platform creates the scalable means for sharing and building ideas throughout the enterprise. Innovation becomes a persistent, shared reality — even across silos and geographies. By leveraging powerful digital platforms and technologies, organizations can become more effective in executing innovative ideas by relying less on silo functions, more on cross-functional collaboration and continuous improvement, and come down to three really basic tenets to shape current and future perceptions: transparency, communication, and true partnership.

The intersection of IT and people is where innovation happens: Because the original gem of a creative idea often, if not always arrives at through the interaction of ideas from different domains of thoughts and experiences. Companies need to invest in IT necessary to advance businesses through either incremental or radical innovation. IT-led digital innovations are information driven and customer-centric because often the emerging digital technologies are the disruptive forces behind changes. The CIO should look to businesses outside their industry to spur the out-of-the-box thinking and dot-connecting innovation; to find examples and opportunities for how these other firms addressed similar challenges. IT is more like glue than a tool for integrating all important business elements into the business innovation capability which enables the business to manage innovation in a systematic way and improve the success rate of innovation. IT can achieve the innovation excellence if it is regarded as a being an innovation champion of examples and lessons learned from other industries.

Innovation is to have a new perspective on things. Innovation follows basic rules, which are adapted depending on the company's situation and ambition. IT is the super glue to integrate people, processes, and technologies into unique business competencies such as innovation. IT has the potential to become a creative business problem solver because it is in the unique position to connect cross-functional dots. The key is to hold people accountable for bringing premium innovation result and improving the maturity level of innovation management.


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