Building the Innovation Process

By Brian P. Watson  |  Posted 05-12-2008 Print Email
Setting up a coherent innovation process is the first key to success. Here's a roadmap.

Forrester Research principal analyst Bobby Cameron has written a number of reports around the CIO's involvement (or lack thereof) in innovation. Besides focusing on tactical issues like process, staffing and technology, Cameron advises CIOs to follow these steps:

1 Establish an innovation pipeline process. Start by naming an innovation leader; then create a foundation for funding projects separate from normal business requests. At the same time, lay out criteria to drive the strategy. From there, solicit ideas from everyone in the company. Then establish a metrics system.

2 Sharpen analysis across business and IT. With better blueprints--such as business capability maps--to correlate IT's impact on the business, companies can recognize the full reach and potential of IT functions, infrastructure and applications. By visualizing the complete puzzle, exec-utives and innovation team members can more easily identify opportunities for creative uses of technology.

3 Make innovation part of the project portfolio. Businesses looking to boost their creative prowess need to closely chart the origins of ideas and the results they delivered. Use a portfolio-style tool to monitor and track these developments, but allow more leeway on prioritization and processes, since innovation is different from usual IT projects.

4 Sell business on innovation successes. The business is always looking for results, so give them what they want. Set objectives and priorities for innovation projects, and then measure them. Promote the results--for impact and value--to business executives to drive up enthusiasm and commitment. --B.P.W.

Source: "CIOs: Don't Wait to Innovate," Forrester Research, May 1, 2008

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