Friday, December 20, 2019

CIO as Innovation Provocateur

Progressively, IT leaders are the innovation provocateur who can run IT as the threshold by knitting all critical business elements such as people, process, and technology into differentiated innovation competency.

Technology is often the disruptive force behind innovation and information is the gold mine all forward-looking organizations across vertical sectors dig into. Information Technology is the linchpin of digital transformation which starts with the realization that where you currently no longer can deliver the strategic business goals and reach the long-term business vision of your company and shareholders.

IT-business proactive interaction, communication, and cross-functional collaboration are the strategic imperative. Thus, digital CIOs are often like the innovation provocateur who can inspire creativity and proactively take initiatives to innovate at the organizational level and across the business ecosystem.

Practice “out-of-the-box” thinking: The digital CIO is skeptical about the conventional understanding of the problems so that they can examine everything before accepting it for its real truth or advising it to others. CIOs need to strategically work with the business as the trustful business partner, share their technological vision, predict emerging technological trends or business opportunities, and provide alternative business solutions.

With the faster pace of changes, future orientation is part of the foundation of running an innovative digital organization. In reality, far too many IT organizations have tended toward being “reactive,” not “proactive.” CIOs should be totally involved and participate in the strategic decisions of upper management and build a comprehensive change agenda, have access to both internal and external resources to achieve the desired ROI. They are also able to seek out talent (internally & externally) better than themselves at specific activities (and more knowledgeable in specific domains) to help make positive changes or take innovation initiatives to achieve the “art of possible.”

Look at innovation from the perspective of developing business-wide innovation competency: Nowadays, thanks for the emergent lightweight digital technologies and the exponential growth of information, it’s easier than ever for organizations to explore varying opportunities to innovate or practice entrepreneurship for developing business innovation capacity. The best point of view is to see innovation as a system, capable of delivering organization-wide capability. More specifically, innovation capability and capacity are based on hard elements such as systems or processes; as well as soft factors such as leadership, communication, or culture, with IT as the linchpin.

In addition, digital CIOs are able to build an IT-led digital innovation agenda which covers innovation management, knowledge or technology transfer, entrepreneurship, or people-centricity, Their responsibilities are to understand the business's collaboration needs and innovation demand today and into the future, investigate new technologies and software, proactively seek out fresh ideas. manage a balanced innovation portfolio and develop innovation as a company-wide competency.

Create a working environment that encourages candor and inspire creativity: The digital workforce is a technology savvy new breed with hyper-diversity. Companies need to create shared goals and develop an inclusive and innovative team to compete and collaborate as they deem fit; encourage creative thinking, empower people with effective tools, improve employee engagement and competency. 

In reality though, you could have all the ability and confidence in the world, but if your team is not inspired and does not trust you and believe in your vision, there will be challenging times on the road ahead. Thus, it’s always important to cultivate an open environment to inspire creativity, and leverage IT to shape an innovative workforce. Listen to customers, stakeholders, vendors, partners, and staff, enforce customer-centricity, figure out innovative solutions to tailor business needs and maximize the full potential of the digital organization.

IT is no longer just the mechanical or monolithic hardware pieces to keep the business spinning or the mechanism for realizing a vision described by other C-level executives. CIOs need to move in the direction to make responsibilities of having an investment in technology really pay off by modeling and inspiring business colleagues to collaborate. Progressively, IT leaders are the innovation provocateur who can run IT as the threshold by knitting all critical business elements such as people, process, and technology into differentiated innovation competency.


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