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CIO Insights: How to approach innovation

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

Carsales-owned Quicksales website is also powered by that search engine, our own proprietary search engine, and we now are starting to sell that to other organisations.

Innovation is no more something nice to have for organisations. Some organisations will spend 50 per cent of their time innovating, others 1 per cent of their time. The question is not whether you should innovate or not, it is how much time you allocate for innovation.

The best thing is to work on an acceptable level of risk taking within the organisation while educating the other executives on the value of innovation. This is why I define innovation as new thinking that creates value because all of the execs love value. At the end of the day, there is value, but there is also some risk that comes with it. It's just balancing the two.

Alex Jones, CIO at Synergy

From a stakeholder management perspective, it's important that the beneficiaries of any innovation (generally not the CIO) are actually involved in supporting the concept. So if you are going to run an innovation process that's designed to benefit a certain part of the business then you really want to get that part of the business involved before you get started.

When it comes to deciding on the process you could say, "I know we haven't done this before in this organisation but I have done some research and have sought opinions from experts and it seems that this particular process would be effective in bringing the benefits of innovation to you. What do you think?" Then you can have that conversation about who has what role in driving an innovation process.

Once having agreed on that, then you start soliciting ideas from the employees or customers or whoever you are going to get your ideas from. You have to get an agreement on what you are going to do in terms of the innovation process before you go out there asking people for ideas.

In regards to the CEO or the other business executive wanting to review and approve each single idea, if you ask yourself the question "why do people micro manage?" it's because they don't have confidence that the process as it stands is going to deliver the right result. Maybe they are concerned that it's a waste of time and the team doesn't have capacity to do all of this.


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