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CIO Insights: How to approach innovation

Rebecca Merrett (via CIO) | July 5, 2013
Three Australian CIOs share their advice.

Get those people's buy in before you even start on what it is you are trying to do, why you are trying to do it and what you are hoping to achieve and also what's involved because nothing is free. You don't just suddenly get great ideas turning into projects without a number of people actually putting in a dedicated effort to making that happen.

You could say, "We are going to get all these ideas coming through and it's going to take quite a bit of effort to filter all of them down to say 10 that could actually become a project. We are going to need people from your team to work with us in selecting ideas as you understand where the value is for your part of the business and we will be like the sponsor of all of this and deliver the end result of that pre-filtering."

If you have an internal Facebook page where the CEO or other business head can like, comment and vote on ideas as they see fit - then that could be a way for them to be part of the review process without having to go through each single idea manually.

This is an example of how you could set up a tool to capture and pre-review ideas and any business can set that up for free. We have something similar we call an 'ideas hub' and it's a link on our Intranet site.

Lastly, if you are in a situation as a CIO where you are faced with an ineffective process being forced onto you and you don't have the influencing skills to turn it into something that is going to work, then you are in trouble.

That is evidence of a fundamental gap or issue in terms of trust and engagement, which is serious. You need to work on your influencing skills and develop a good working relationship with the people who are responsible for making the decisions whether to invest or not to invest in innovation and technology that is going to benefit the business.

 

Christopher Topp, director of IT at Luther College

A good way of implementing change deriving from effective entrepreneurial thinking is to categorise the ideas according to business risk, then invite the CEO or other business executives to be part of a review process dealing with each concept with an appropriate time to be allocated to it as part of a panel. While in one sense you are diluting the business hierarchy, this is advantageous especially if you need to move away from traditional 'accountant mentality' thinking to a more 'creative thinking' approach.

 

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