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BLOG: The art of driving innovation on a shoestring

Kevin Noonan | Sept. 24, 2012
Innovation is clearly one of the hot topics for today's CEOs and industry leaders.

Innovation diffusion is the key to success

Innovation diffusion is a big topic and is the subject of countless articles. However, for the shoestring innovator, diffusion needs to be distilled down one fundamental question. How can good ideas be turned into great outcomes? In the end it is all about outcomes. Even great innovation will languish, unless it gains acceptance within its target population.

Innovation diffusion can be a significant source of frustration for senior executives, as seemingly good ideas fail to take hold. Frustrated executives sometimes ask, "Why can't we be more innovative just like Google, Apple or Microsoft?" However, there is no point trying to mimic other companies in other sectors. Innovation diffusion can only occur at a rate that matches the circumstances of each enterprise and only in the competitive context of each business sector.

Over the last year, many enterprises have struggled to deliver big, transformational IT projects. While these big projects may satisfy corporate aspirations to be leaders in innovation, the real test is not the size of the project, but the outcome it delivers.

Flexible technology is crucial for the innovative enterprise

Tight budgets are a constant reality for today's CIOs. Sometimes there is an instinctive reaction to circle the wagons, fend off all additional expenditure requests, and deliver systems that meet minimum business requirements. However Ovum research indicates that, for many enterprises, these just set up the IT function fur further cuts. An alternative approach is to treat the innovation agenda as an opportunity for growth. This means slimming down and becoming more agile. It requires business discussions built around outcomes rather than requirements, and a greater use of configurable solutions such as commercial-off-the-shelf software and cloud services. In order to become a respected player in corporate innovation, business executives will need to adopt a more pragmatic approach to requirements and expectations, and the IT department will need to learn to work with new tools.  Doctor, heal thyself!

The writer is Research Director,  Public Sector Technology, Ovum.


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