Wednesday, July 24, 2019

CIOs as De Facto “Chief Innovation Officer”: How to Manage Intensive Digital Innovation

 Innovation happens when you change the game or bring the different twist to what is currently perceived or established. 

Innovation is what leads to differentiation. Technology is often the disruptive force behind innovation, and information is the most time-intensive piece of digital innovation puzzle. In an industry where innovation threatens to tear down legacy systems and practices, just as it generates new opportunities, it's natural to fear the unknown or be skeptical of the unproven. There is a full emotional cycle behind digital innovation. CIOs as de facto “Chief Innovation Officer”: How to manage intensive digital innovation smoothly?

Communication: The success of innovation management starts with effective communication. If you can get the IT leaders and staff to engage in open dialog with the business people, sharing ideas and learning, you can generate lots of fresh ideas and accomplish wonderful things. Being generous at sharing ideas with all coworkers, communicate and support others regardless of leadership style or personality differences. Innovation happens at the intersection of people and technology. IT and the business are intertwined but must be on the same page of innovation management, engage talent in innovation-driven conversations and make it as a regular habit. IT is a business enabler, but a high mature IT organization also has the vision to be a driver for business innovation. It’s about how to apply open, creative, and multi-channel communication styles to bridge IT-business gaps by using common language, truly understand critical business problems and solve them creatively. Initiate both horizontal (cross-functional) and vertical (dig deeper about some important subject) open communication, collaborate on strategy and work together to drive business innovation systematically.

Coherence: Innovation is not serendipity, but collaborative teamwork and coherent business efforts. Digital organizations spontaneously self-organize, generate patterns, structures, and layers, and above all, create novelty over time. Consider digital organization as the coherent, self-organized but interlaced and hyper-connected ecosystem, Coherence improves idea flow and streamline information flow. Due to the exponential growth of information and complexity of modern business, digital innovation is intensive with lots of confusions and many missing pieces. Innovation management success is achieved by diagnosing problems clearly, identifying talent gaps insightfully, sourcing the mix set of skills and capabilities relentlessly, tuning business processes and structures effectively and efficiently, and building a healthy innovation portfolio to deliver desired innovations continuously. Organizations have to strike the multitude of digital balances such as innovation leadership vs. management, theories vs. practices, standardization vs. flexibility, logic vs. intuition, etc, in order to achieve innovation management coherence and improve the success rate of innovation management. The differentiated innovation management competency is built via the top executive generous sponsorship, the middle-management dedicated execution, and the bottom line engagement and fully supports.

Community: At the heart of innovation is a life cycle of idea generation, interaction, selection, and learning. CIOs as the de facto “Chief Innovation Officer” can reinvent IT as an innovation hub and build wide user-community to nurture great ideas generation, increase interaction, improve learning, and build a culture of innovation. Organizations cross industrial sectors have begun applying collaborative platforms, tools and methodologies to enforce broader communication, facilitate innovation dialogues, broaden the impact of innovation practices, and accelerate the pace of innovation. In a healthy and self-renewing innovation ecosystem, employees, customers, channel partners, suppliers, and industry ecosystem participants are all active agents who can bring up fresh ideas to the table and have permission to combine the modular capabilities exposed in a platform to create new ideas and develop them into full fruity. Innovation community is dynamic and fluid to allow ideas flow frictionlessly, strike the multitude of digital balances which impact with each other in order to achieve a state of flow, a state of zest, and a state of harmonization.

Innovation is the core activity of human evolution of changing the environment to reach stellar performance and make a profit, for saving of resources, for solving common problems, and for expediting collective human progress. This requires an effective innovation system that is capable of supporting both widespread incremental innovation in products/services and disruptive innovation in business model. CIOs as the de facto “Chief Innovation Officer” can develop a balanced innovation portfolio to improve business vitality and ensure future business growth and organizational maturity.

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