Innovation and The New CIO

Innovation and The New CIO

The New CIO is a weekly article about the challenges facing today’s CIO as well as what can be done to prepare for future challenges.

Innovation.

That’s a powerful word.  It can conjure up many feelings and thoughts, but does the word mean anything to the CIO and/or the IT Group?

Do most IT organizations know what innovation really means? Is it the job of the IT group and Chief Information Officer to help drive innovation?

I believe it is.  I believe the CIO has to step out from the role of IT leader and move into a role of innovation leader within the organization.

CIO = Chief Innovation Officer?

We probably won’t see a title change, but The New CIO will need to be able to not only speak the language of business and technology, but also the language of innovation.  The New CIO will needs to be comfortable talking about the world of now as well as the world of tomorrow.

Gone are the days of waiting on the sidelines to see what other companies are doing.  The New CIO has to have their finger on the pulse of popular culture, technology culture and academia to know where society is going, what technology is available now and in the near future and where technology is going in the long term.

Can The New CIO really do this? I think they have to.  The New CIO must take a lead in innovating.

While the CIO still has to worry about IT Operations, Governance,  Security, Project Management and everything in the world of IT, if The New CIO can build the right team, they’ll have more time to focus on the responsibilities of driving innovation throughout the enterprise.

What other group or person within an organization is better positioned than The New CIO?  The majority of innovative ideas today revolve around using technology in some manner.   What better way for The New CIO to drive home the value of  IT than to help lead innovation.

The New CIO has a lot of hats to wear: Portfolio manager,  Leader, Strategist are just a few.   Add Innovator to that list and you might just have the perfect CIO.

From CIO to Innovator to CEO?

Many organizations are looking for people who can think strategically and innovate.  Add to that, the ability to blend technology with business, and you’ve got the makings of a great CEO.

Put on your thinking hat, dust off your strategic thinking skills (hopefully they aren’t too dusty!) and start driving innovation. For the CIO who figures out how to do these things well, they might just find themselves being sought out for larger leadership roles within the organization.

Take that step from operational CIO to The New CIO…you just might find it’s fun being involved in changing the way to the organization does business.  You might also find yourself in the CEO position in the future.

Join me next week for another The New CIO article.

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Is Marketing Really Shortchanging IT? - Eric D. BrownTechHashTagsEric D. BrownBen ShoemateChris Curran Recent comment authors
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Scott Booher
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Eric,

Thanks for this post and I agree that Innovation is a job requirement, whether it is explicitly stated or not. The interesting thing about this particular role for CIOs is that, for many organizations, they won't need to fight their way into the role with their business partners (assuming they have a collaborating partnership in-place). For many organizations, this is a vacuum waiting to be filled by someone – if the CIO is comfortable in the role, they can quickly step in and add a lot of value.

Scott Booher
Guest

Eric,

Thanks for this post and I agree that Innovation is a job requirement, whether it is explicitly stated or not. The interesting thing about this particular role for CIOs is that, for many organizations, they won't need to fight their way into the role with their business partners (assuming they have a collaborating partnership in-place). For many organizations, this is a vacuum waiting to be filled by someone – if the CIO is comfortable in the role, they can quickly step in and add a lot of value.

ericbrown
Guest

Hi Scott – In many organizations that I've been part of, there is a huge vacuum and the CIO is perfectly positioned to fill that void.

thanks for stopping by!

ericbrown
Guest

Hi Scott – In many organizations that I've been part of, there is a huge vacuum and the CIO is perfectly positioned to fill that void.

thanks for stopping by!

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[…] Innovation and The New CIO | Eric D. Brown – Technology, Strategy, People, Projects […]

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[…] Innovation and the new CIO Eric Brown […]

Hemant Kogekar
Guest

I think all business leaders have to innovate to survive in the changing world. It is definitely something CIOs can aspire to.

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[…] Innovation and The New CIO (ericbrown.com) Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Strategy: The Changing Face of Strategic PlanningHow this post may help an operational manager with the replacement of old I…JULY 26, 2007 AGENDA38 Studios denies Dec. 2010 release for Copernicus, plans to detail project… Tags: Business, Change, Leadership, Leadership and management, Management, Personal Productivity, Sabrina Jung, Transition, Trends […]

ericbrown
Guest

Agreed…all business leaders should be looking to be more innovative, but the CIO is the one position that I've seen that has historically shied away from innovation. CIO's and the IT group are perfectly poised to help drive innovation.

stevenMsmith
Guest
stevenMsmith

Eric, Would you help me interpret what you mean when you say “innovation?”

The word is used so often these days that it can mean anything. I clicked through the links in this post but couldn't find a definition. Everybody seems to assume everyone knows what it means. I'm fairly certain that all commentators think innovation is always good, but that's an attribute rather than a definition.

The introduction of new things is my best guess at your intended meaning. So the CIO would be someone who introduces news things.

What is your definition for innovation?

ericbrown
Guest

My definition of innovation?

Creating something new that delivers value to the organization, customer or individual.

stevenMsmith
Guest
stevenMsmith

Thank you. A few follow up questions. Creating something new — do you mean the creation happens inside the CIO's organization? Is it innovation when an IT organization deploys a technology created by an outside organization? I assume it is. Creating something new — do you mean its innovation when new things are created that enable old things to continue creating value? I assume it might be. Delivers value to the organization — do you mean to the IT organization? It could be the overall organization. I'm not sure. Delivers value to the individual — do you mean to the… Read more »

ericbrown
Guest

Hi Stephen – When I talk about the CIO as innovator, I'm not just talking about the CIO as IT innovator. The CIO has to step outside of IT to help the entire organizaiton innovate. The CIO can no longer stay within IT….the entire organization has to be considered. So…when I said “Creating something new that delivers value to the organization, customer or individual” I meant just that. The CIO as innovator is someone that helps deliver new ideas for the organization to create revenue. They deliver new ideas that lead to new products that lead to new revenue or… Read more »

stevenMsmith
Guest
stevenMsmith

Eric, I'm clearer about what CIO innovation means to you. Thank you.

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"Innovation & The New #CIO" by @EricDBrown #Technology #Strategy #People & #Projects http://bit.ly/10essR RT @MikeSchaffner #IT #CTO

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@TriumphCIO @denisemeyerson @DiscussHR @PedroDCardoso thanks for sharing Innovation & The New #CIO http://bit.ly/10essR

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RT @ericdbrown:@TriumphCIO @denisemeyerson @DiscussHR @PedroDCardoso thanks for sharing Innovation & The New #CIO http://bit.ly/10essR

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RT @ericdbrown Innovation & The New #CIO http://bit.ly/10essR me: good discussion; cio needs to help biz innovate, but not just w/in IT.

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@cbcurran thanks for the RT Innovation & The New #CIO http://bit.ly/10essR. CIO needs to step outside of IT and drive innovation everywhere

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@Chris_P_Intel thanks for the RT of Innovation and The New CIO http://bit.ly/rzefd

Henno Gous
Guest

Eric, some interesting perspectives.

A question though… what could a CIO use to guide him in aligning his organization's IT architecture with innovation strategy?

Surely the approach to enabling/driving innovation with technology should be tailored to fit and help fulfill organization-specific innovation capabilities?

Then, once the IT architecture is properly aligned with the organization's innovation strategy and capabilities, a new wave of technological development comes along. So, in essence, we have two variable parameters with a confused CIO in the middle of it all.

Any ideas?

Henno Gous
Guest

Eric, some interesting perspectives.

A question though… what could a CIO use to guide him in aligning his organization's IT architecture with innovation strategy?

Surely the approach to enabling/driving innovation with technology should be tailored to fit and help fulfill organization-specific innovation capabilities?

Then, once the IT architecture is properly aligned with the organization's innovation strategy and capabilities, a new wave of technological development comes along. So, in essence, we have two variable parameters with a confused CIO in the middle of it all.

Any ideas?

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RE: @ericdbrown Eric, some interesting perspectives.

A question though… what could a CIO use to guide him in align… http://disq.us/1xbp

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CIO Canada Links: My dear Aunt Sally…

My dear Aunt Sally The Effective CIO How to strengthen the office of the CIO: Part II The Total CIO Innovation…

ericbrown
Guest

I think the CIO has to use the business strategy to align his/her IT strategy & architecture. Without this alignment, the business & IT group will most likely be moving in different directions.

You are correct…the CIO should use technology for innovation only when it fits within the context of the organization. That confused CIO is what we have today (I believe) and our jobs are to help them become less confused.

ericbrown
Guest

I think the CIO has to use the business strategy to align his/her IT strategy & architecture. Without this alignment, the business & IT group will most likely be moving in different directions.

You are correct…the CIO should use technology for innovation only when it fits within the context of the organization. That confused CIO is what we have today (I believe) and our jobs are to help them become less confused.

Henno Gous
Guest

Totally in agreement. And it is precisely this lack of guidance for the confused CIO that is the motivation for my personal research. I am proposing an Innovation Technology Framework which will help CIO's to understand their organization's critical innovation capabilities and their respective technological requirements. The changing technological landscape however adds another dimension to such a framework, as this threatens to render your innovation technology architecture outdated before your implementation is done! In my opinion, one has to focus on the functional characteristics of technologies that can support your innovation capabilities. By rather focusing on the characteristics than the… Read more »

Henno Gous
Guest

Totally in agreement. And it is precisely this lack of guidance for the confused CIO that is the motivation for my personal research. I am proposing an Innovation Technology Framework which will help CIO's to understand their organization's critical innovation capabilities and their respective technological requirements. The changing technological landscape however adds another dimension to such a framework, as this threatens to render your innovation technology architecture outdated before your implementation is done! In my opinion, one has to focus on the functional characteristics of technologies that can support your innovation capabilities. By rather focusing on the characteristics than the… Read more »

ericbrown
Guest

I think you've got a good start. Part of the problem in the past (and even today) is the focus on a technology or system rather than on the underlying characteristics of the technology.

Off the top of my head, I can't think of any framework that could be used as guidance but I'll think about it. I'd also love to hear more about your research.

Henno Gous
Guest

I have lately started to understand that my thinking around the use of technology to drive innovation was too narrow-minded… almost too focused on supporting the product development life cycle with technology, rather than the innovation process. Innovation is something much more far-reaching than simple product development. In some organizations, innovation may indeed be dominated by product development, but that is only one scenario and technological support for innovation should not be limited to that. That was when the importance of service-oriented architecture struck me. When one begins to comprehend the complexity of innovation, you also begin to understand the… Read more »

Henno Gous
Guest

Totally in agreement. And it is precisely this lack of guidance for the confused CIO that is the motivation for my personal research. I am proposing an Innovation Technology Framework which will help CIO's to understand their organization's critical innovation capabilities and their respective technological requirements. The changing technological landscape however adds another dimension to such a framework, as this threatens to render your innovation technology architecture outdated before your implementation is done! In my opinion, one has to focus on the functional characteristics of technologies that can support your innovation capabilities. By rather focusing on the characteristics than the… Read more »

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RE: @ericdbrown Totally in agreement.

And it is precisely this lack of guidance for the confused CIO that is the mot… http://disq.us/1xx7

ericbrown
Guest

I think you've got a good start. Part of the problem in the past (and even today) is the focus on a technology or system rather than on the underlying characteristics of the technology.

Off the top of my head, I can't think of any framework that could be used as guidance but I'll think about it. I'd also love to hear more about your research.

Henno Gous
Guest

Well, its in its infancy stages. Currently doing the background reading to support my problem statement, which basically boils down to the following: How can I use technology to improve my organization's innovation capability and thereby gain and exploit a competitive advantage? From there I argue that to improve innovation capability, you have to understand the mix of your own organization's innovation capability breakdown, as this is greatly influenced by organization-specific innovation strategy. Other organizational parameters, e.g. enterprise life cycle position, complexity, etc. also play a role, although most of these effects are evident in the innovation strategy. Innovation capabilities… Read more »

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RE: @ericdbrown I have lately started to understand that my thinking around the use of technology to drive innovation w… http://disq.us/1xyd

ericbrown
Guest

Great Stuff Henno – looks like you've got some excellent ideas. Would love to see how you progress with this framework.

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RE: @hennogous Great Stuff Henno – looks like you’ve got some excellent ideas. Would love to see how you progress with … http://disq.us/1y29

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[…] The shift to digital in the marketing world has changed the landscape of every organization. Marketing budgets have grown and IT budgets have not (generally).  That’s not a surprise to anyone but I think we in the IT world need to step back and ask why marketing’s budgets for technology solutions have grown.  Is it because marketing and CMO’s are that much smarter than the IT group and CIO’s and know how to tell a good ‘story’ to the CEO to get that budget?  Perhaps it is…but I’d argue that the reason that CMO’s have been driving more technology… Read more »