According to Deloitte’s most recent global CIO survey, only 11 percent of tech leaders believe their current innovation capabilities are excellent. With innovation a recognized driver of growth, it’s important that organizations address this issue. In fact, research suggests that IT executives should start close to home—by analyzing their approach to innovation and ensuring it maps to company goals.
Drawing upon the Deloitte survey’s results, below are a few examples of innovation stumbling blocks, and what IT leaders can do to navigate them:
- Defensive posture: The Deloitte respondents cited “resistance to change” as the chief reason technology change efforts fail. It’s not uncommon to view disruptive technologies as potentially risky investments, however, this attitude must change if innovation efforts are to be successful. Deloitte recommends that tech leaders collaborate with colleagues in other areas of the business to balance technology investments so that the perceived risk is not the sole responsibility of one department or individual. Companies should “strive to create a culture that encourages and supports creative thinking and rewards effort more than outcome, and clearly articulate the organization’s risk appetite so staff can take calculated risks.”
- Disjointed ownership and lack of constraints: Continuity of efforts is critical to the success of innovation initiatives. According to Deloitte, “Leaders should allow the person or team that generated an idea to remain actively involved throughout the process, creating continuity and providing valuable historical context.”
- Too inwardly focused: IT leaders that are hesitant to look outside of the organization for innovation significantly limit their ability to truly deliver change. Innovation requires shifting from viewing technology vendors as a transactional relationship to a partnership, in which these external parties provide an integral consultative service in addition to their core product.
- Bias toward process over speed: Deloitte believes, “New technologies and techniques have rendered sequential innovation processes obsolete… Today, cloud platforms offer instantly flexible and scalable infrastructure, allowing teams to create prototypes with built-in scalability.” Tech leaders who favor the traditional sequential process will always find themselves on the wrong side of innovation efforts and struggling to keep up.
- Failure to measure: Measuring the success of innovation initiatives requires a different set of metrics than those used to evaluate traditional business projects. It’s important that tech leaders set the right KPIs and also ensure that everyone working on the innovation effort—and evaluating its impact—understand these goals.
With the final weeks of 2019 underway, the industry is awash in predictions for what the coming decade may bring. In order to truly benefit from an emerging technology trend, it’s critical that tech leaders ensure they aren’t inadvertently thwarting existing innovation efforts.
For more on how tech leaders can avoid common innovation pitfalls, check out the CIO article by Khalid Kark, managing director with the U.S. CIO Program, Deloitte.
For another view, check out this recent APEX of Innovation post on what leaders should NOT do in order to innovate.