7 ways to encourage IT innovation | So Good News


Being able to drive innovation as an IT leader benefits not only IT itself, but the organization it serves and you personally, as it demonstrates your ability to be an internal agent of change, a true business. partner and an asset at the strategy table.

1. Define and formulate the definition of IT innovation

Asking your team to be more innovative is like asking an athlete to play better. While saying it can be motivational and instructive, it is often perceived as unpleasant and confusing to the person receiving it. So if you want people to innovate, define exactly what you need them to do. Think special. My definition of IT innovation: The successful creation, implementation, improvement, or improvement of a technical process, business process, software product, hardware product, or cultural factor that reduces costs, increases productivity, increases an organization’s competitiveness, or provides other business value. Although this description is a bit long, use its components and concepts to define your own definition based on your organization’s current needs and future IT vision.

2. Recognize the difference between project management and R&D

IT projects are project management oriented by nature. They have clear deadlines, accurate cost estimates and deliverables, and calculated and expected ROI. Real R&D has a completely different set of rules, metrics, and expectations. With R&D-type projects, you can’t include in your plan that the big news and breakthrough will happen on a certain day. It doesn’t work like that. The big breakthrough will come when he’s ready, or maybe not at all. As a result, ROI cannot be reliably calculated with R&D-type projects; outcomes other than status and budget reports cannot be predicted; and the total cost of implementation cannot be effectively estimated. So, as an IT leader, if you want to develop R&D in your organization, you need to evaluate both the project and those working on it using R&D-based criteria, not the project itself.

3. Building an innovation pipeline

Creating an innovative culture is focused not only on people, but also on the process. You should develop a formal process that identifies, collects, evaluates and implements innovative ideas. Without this process, great ideas and potential innovations die on the vine. You should also recognize and understand that innovative ideas can come from many sources, including your employees, internal business partners, customers, suppliers, competitors, or through chance discovery. Identifying the most likely sources of innovative ideas is important because you can create idea collection processes for each individual source.

4. Accept others’ unfair expectations of IT

The user base of the IT and business processes you develop, the software you develop, and the services you provide are mentally compared to vendor-acquired software, industry best practices, and services that cost tens of millions of dollars to create, support, and maintain. deliver. It’s not fair, but that’s what we do! As a result, evaluation of new processes and software must be viewed through this unbiased lens and, if implemented, expectations must be properly set regarding what will be delivered initially and possibly improved over time. Falsely raised expectations can damage IT’s overall reputation and stifle the business case for funding your team’s innovative ideas.

5. Adhere to the doctrine of “Form and Content”.

This doctrine asserts that all deliveries, whether large or small, must have both form and substance. Form is how it looks. Content is what it says or how it works. You should do this for documents, systems, processes, and anything else that is delivered to others. Form without content is a new system that looks really good but doesn’t do what people want. Ill-formed content shows that the person or team delivering it is selling less and doesn’t take enough pride in their work to make it look good. From the point of view of encouraging innovation, all implemented ideas must conform to this doctrine, otherwise your department’s new innovations will not be well received, thereby jeopardizing your entire innovation goal.

6. Recognition and promotion of internal innovations

Employees focus on goals, objectives, and values ​​that their managers believe are important. So if you don’t pay attention to or support the innovative ideas presented by your employees and others, they won’t either. So talk about the innovation in staff meetings, and when the idea is implemented, publicly praise the person who proposed it and the people who made it happen. This public praise uses the same concept as posting an “employee of the month” picture so other employees see it and work harder in hopes of being featured next month. There are many employees who are not interested in this designation, but it is very motivating for those who are interested.

7. Provide a safe environment when innovation fails

When you are presented with an innovative idea, good or bad, praise the person’s effort, interest, and initiative. When good ideas are presented, they are placed on the innovation track discussed earlier. Less compelling ideas can become teaching moments from you to the employee about why they don’t work, which can be combined with metrics that build ideas and gain traction. If you approve an idea, give the employee time to complete it, and if it fails, praise the effort and don’t blame the employee, or they may never come up with an innovative idea.


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