One of the most exciting jobs an IT pro can be tasked with is that of the innovation officer. This position allows for creative stimulation, but there are some traps that can be easily fallen into if you are not careful. In an article for ZDNet, Mary Shacklett elaborates on eight of the hurdles and how to best avoid them:
- Assuming there will be support for innovation
- Not adequately looking at the risks
- Not everyone is an innovator
- Not knowing when to walk away
- Not conducting adequate research
- Beginning too large
- Not controlling the process
- Limiting innovation
It is very easy for IT to embrace innovation because they can see the benefit and the potential behind the project. In the rest of the company however, innovation is approached with reservation. CFOs are the most hesitant because innovation threatens to disrupt what they are comfortable with. Overcoming this obstacle is made easier after you understand your company’s culture and allow for the innovation to be accepted.
It is important to take time to properly analyze risks, as well as rewards. It is easy to be blinded by the good in the innovation, but there may be some adverse consequences as well to consider. Put the right people on the job to assess and execute the innovation; not everyone can or wants to handle this type of project. All the same, sometimes a project will fail with no hope of resuscitation, so you need to know when to cut your losses. Do not put all your resources into a sinking ship.
Preparation and research are often the key to success, and there need to be skilled individuals tasked with such a pertinent aspect of the project. Innovation needs to be integrated into the strategic plan, gain support from the rest of the business, and procure the resources it needs to succeed. Once everything is in place, do not become overzealous and start with too much too soon. It is better to make smaller, incremental innovation changes.
The innovation process needs to be guided and controlled. Creative freedom is great and should be encouraged, but innovation is a goal and there needs to be defined criteria for the team to follow and assess their work. Limiting innovation is another mistake. Anyone from any discipline can come up with great ideas. Encourage all!
You can read the original article here: http://www.zdnet.com/article/eight-traps-to-sidestep-when-youre-an-it-innovation-leader/