What do organizations that value innovation do differently? Turns out that creating new business value through IT goes beyond delivering great technology, it’s about improving processes, increasing agility and working smarter.
For practical advice, Discover Performance turned to three IT innovation experts—consultants who advise CIOs in the trenches daily—and asked:
- How are CIOs advancing innovation within their organizations?
- How are they aligning IT innovation with the business?
Automate, prioritize, focus
Innovation is more than an idea—it’s what you do with it.
“What separates a good idea from a true innovation is execution,” says Joshua Brusse, consultant and chief architect with HP Software. As for practical execution tactics, “get out of the way as far as incremental innovation is concerned,” suggests Keith Macbeath, a principal consultant with HP Software. Paul Muller, VP and technology evangelist for HP Software, adds: “Encourage grassroots innovation that’s fostered by workers’ passion.”
Further the trio recommends three elements that foster innovation:
- Automation: Innovation is easier when you get infrastructure out of the way. Macbeath points to a major travel company that made more time for innovation by automating its infrastructure provisioning, cutting app dev cycle times by 30 percent.
- Prioritization: Prioritize innovation amid competing IT projects, even though—as Macbeath reminds—“the urgent tends to push out the important.”
- Focus: Ignore timesheets and leverage outcome-based management that focuses on the results of one’s work— with tools and hours logged seen as a means to an end, not the end in itself.
Manage LOB’s commitment to innovation
Learn to “manage up” or across.
“Disruptive innovation, by definition, is unfamiliar,” Macbeath says. So whether it’s your CEO, CFO, or a line-of-business executive, you may need to change their perspective to get buy-in.
When asked what mistakes he sees CIOs frequently make with innovation, Brusse cites insufficient support for innovation programs, lack of R&D funding, and no processes to support innovation. “People must have time to work on and document their ideas,” he says. “There must be a process to capture people’s ideas, comment on them, and when selected, invest in them.”
Answering the innovation mandate
Innovation isn’t something you buy, or a “solution” you implement. It’s about how you plan your strategy, measure success, and inspire your teams. It’s about leading and managing for innovation as much as it is about being innovative.