Innovation in IT requires a consistent process (call it approach or call it methodology, as long as its defined, utilized and adhered to).
A term I like to use is IVIS –
I – Innovate
V – Validate
I – Implement
S – Sustain.
Regarding the “Innovate” portion of an IVIS process; the key is to have risk minimized at a personal level. When Implemented correctly, organizational risk can be qualified, quantified and planned/managed for. However, risk at an individual level is where senior management attention needs to be paid.
To successfully Innovate within IT, an organization WILL experience failures…not all new technologies perform as sold when actually Implemented. For career purposes, its not sufficient that those chartered with IT Innovation be managed only within IT, even if at the CIO level. A strategic CIO who views Innovation in his/her shop as a key mandate should recognize the need to build and share this specific function with the business head most likely to benefit from a successful Innovation initiative outcome. If the Innovation driver is cost reduction, the corporate CFO could be that shared executive management. If the Innovation driver is expanding products or markets, the head of sales or marketing would be a better choice.
My Vendor Management article touches on one approach to this type of segregation for IT Innovation (viewable via Slideshare at http://slidesha.re/pj6jny ). The “best” businesses will innovate their business as much as they can, given regulatory, financial or IT constraints. CIOs will Innovate the best they can, given their responsibilities of operations, business continuity, records management and compliance. The key to successful IT Innovation is to formally structure an IT Innovation function to maximize IT and business understanding and minimze “personnel” risk. This is where an outsourced approach could work best since at the Innovate phase of IVIS, there really should be no limitations on what or who is researched.
This finetuning phase of IT Innovation, the Validate phase of IVIS, is really the first time any constraints should begin to be factored in…which will be discussed in the next blog post.