Yesterday I contributed to an HMG Strategy CIO Executive Strategy Event in Dallas. I was part of a panel focused on Innovation.
We started off talking about what innovation means to each of the panelists. Much of this discussion was similar to other innovation discussion you’ve probably been part of before (incremental vs. disruptive, new things delivered…). I tried a different tack for this audience.
I said that innovation is part of being human. When I say “I am only human” I state that I am creative and like to do things differently every time. Unfortunately not all business processes need that level of creativity and that need for consistency is an opportunity for CIOs. Since we can automate what’s normal… If the organization is not being innovative it is because you are likely doing something that prevents it from happening.
We then got into a discussion about what kills innovation. The position I took was that a lack of communications is a primary way to prevent effective innovation. Since innovation is part of being human, communicating a clear understanding of where innovation is needed to your organization is critical to developing an innovative approach. After all by definition, you need to have followers to be a leader. It is definitely a case where information is power, the more you can share what is important to you the more power you can accumulate.
Of course understanding the culture of the organization and the type of innovation that’s valued by the various business areas is important, since culture eats strategy for lunch, as I mentioned the other day. Ensuring that you have measures that provide transparency and are appropriate to the changes that are happening is also important.If the business is focused on making it through the next quarter, dropping a five year plan into the mix, will not be viewed as innovative.