While many IT leaders value and understand the need for innovation, many struggle to make it an intentional part of their business strategy.
To understand what adversaries leaders have when it comes to innovation, Twisthink surveyed and collected insights from C-Suite executives on what it took for them to embrace innovation within their organization. The research found that while 93 percent of the C-Suite executives surveyed believe innovation is important to their organization, only 48 percent have a dedicated innovation strategy in place. And when it came to addressing the lack of innovation, the study found that leaders are most concerned about their ability to keep up with rapid technological change (47 percent) and allocate proper talent (49 percent).
With analysis supported by the study, below are five ways IT leaders can keep up with the ever changing technology landscape and to promote innovation throughout their teams.
Put a formal innovation process and execution plan in place
Executives understand the need for innovation. In fact, 93 percent believe innovation is important to their organization. However, only 48 percent have a dedicated innovation strategy in place. Despite this large gap, more than three-quarters of executives (76 percent) believe a clear business strategy has a strong impact on a company’s ability to be innovative.
Innovation cannot simply be summoned. It requires process, discipline and diverse perspectives informed by meaningful insights. To take the first step in cultivating an innovative culture within your organization, start by creating a solid strategy with clear goals and actionable steps to make innovation possible.
Support and become involved in creating an innovative culture
According to Twisthink’s survey, more than one third of executives agree or strongly agree that a lack of vision (35 percent) or involvement (33 percent) from their senior leadership team impedes innovation. As an IT leader, the majority of your time consists of overall strategy and decision making. More often than not, these responsibilities make it difficult for you to become involved with the everyday projects of your team. However, after developing a clear strategy for innovation, it is crucial that IT leaders become a part of the process, whether through encouraging new ideas, creating room for failure, or ensuring the innovation strategy is implemented in your team’s everyday responsibilities.
Bring together design and technology teams from the beginning
According to Twisthink’s study, design and technology begin to intersect most often at the conceptualization state, but about a quarter of respondents believe collaboration happens not soon enough. As an IT leader, it’s important to merge the world of design and technology early on in the process of innovation. It gives both design and technology decision makers the full perspective of each team’s need and allows you to have everyone’s buy-in right from the start.
Don’t only invest in projects that have a viable pathway to commercialization
A large part of an IT leader’s role is validating and augmenting IT investment decisions. When it comes to investing in new innovative projects, only a little more than half of respondents (56 percent) reported that they will occasionally pursue ideas they believe have long-term potential even if the immediate business case is not clear.
Though it’s important to vet ideas, taking risks is a big step in creating a more innovative organization. In fact, about half of the respondents believe that a culture of risk taking is important to foster innovation in the company, but the tolerance for risk varies widely. To keep up with technological advancements, IT leaders must pursue projects that might not have a clear business case, but encourages moving forward with innovative ideas.
Adjust the current business model to fit in with new innovative approaches
About one third (32 percent) of respondents agree or strongly agree that a poor execution plan is a barrier to innovation in their organization. Once a clear need for innovation is established and a clear strategy is set in place, it’s crucial to reconfigure your current business model to adapt to the changing landscape, or the process will not be executed. The change can be incrementally, from taking small risks to allowing your team room for failure.
Overall, to truly promote innovation within an organization, IT leaders must not only tout the word of innovation, but also put a solid strategy into action that will create a supportive environment to nurture innovative thinking and ventures.