Do you buy into the “one million acts of innovation”sessions that have grown around the CIO world recently? The author of this IT world Canada post doesn't quite, and the reason is simply that one million is a hard to comprehend number. Innovation is great, and everyone wants to be innovative, of course — but aiming for one million can make for a unachievable goal, and that can lead to a complete stagnation instead of progress. Instead, the article suggests only focusing on five. Five best practices for CIOs to focus on and achieve. But why only five? According to the article:
Why five? One million is a concept; five is concrete – you can count it on the fingers of one hand. Find five changes that will improve your organization's ability to do its business. Little things that save 2 minutes per day per workstation, streamlining access to databases, or… so many possibilities. Think in practical, doable terms. Five things that you can do quickly, cheaply, effectively that will improve your co-worker's ability to get their work done. You may not have to look far as, in many cases, it means fixing five things that IT (or your software vendor) imposes on users that slow them down or require them to work around to do their work. Ask your users, the front line workers, what they would like to see changed to remove time wasters and annoyances from their work. If talking to the front line troops about how to make their IT tools better is an innovation in itself, then it's about time.
One suggestion to find best practices is to take them from other industries. Consider the example of rebuilding an alternator. It requires a standard process using a standard tool kit. Using this process, it's possible to see how knee surgery (the example provided in the article) can be streamlined in the same way as alternator replacement. Use the same tools with the same process each time, permitting a more likely recovery and successful overall process. So instead of aiming for the stars and coming up empty handed, try five concrete best practices. After all, you can always expand from the initial five once they are implemented!