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How CIOs can drive digital innovation through collaboration

Phil Weinzimer | March 15, 2016
CIOs drive innovation by building digital awareness, forming digital innovation teams, and creating innovative opportunities in the form of new products and services. This three step approach accelerates the innovation cycle and optimizes the leveraging of information and technology for competitive advantage.

Second, with help from C-suite colleagues, CIOs can take the lead on organizing digital innovation teams. This is where personnel across the enterprise, regardless of role, are re-skilled to enable the implementation of information and technology that creates customer value in new and unprecedented ways. That means everyone must think differently. The marketplace has changed, industries have changed, and buying habits have changed. Following are some examples:

  • Partnerships: J&J partners with other companies to expand its product breadth and service offerings.
  • Out-of-the-box thinking: Disney's goal with MagicBand was to root out all the friction within the Disney World experience. It did this by identifying the barriers to getting into the experience faster.
  • Benchmarking: Demand Metric issued its 2015 benchmarking report that highlights digital marketing effectiveness. 

The third leg is to identify digital opportunities across the value chain. This involves digital innovation teams creating new products and services at intersect points where new and unique customer value can be created. To accomplish this, digital innovation teams need to be process-centric, identify value opportunities, and use outside-inside thinking. The following examples are explored in detail in my book, The Strategic CIO: Changing the Dynamics of the Business Enterprise.

  • Process-centric: Passerini told me that the role of the CIO is to help the business make well-informed business decisions. As such, Passerini and his team developed a "digitize, visualize, and simulate" strategy that changed the business model of how decisions are made within P&G.
  • Value opportunities: Former Build-A-Bear Workshop CIO David Finnegan recognized that kids' brains are wired differently than those of previous generations. They live in a world centered on technology. As a result, he led the charge to change the business model of how each guest visiting a Build-A-Bear store interacts with digital monitors, creating a unique customer experience.
  • Outside-inside thinking: David Zanca, former senior vice president of Customer Access, cites the law of rising consumer expectations and urges companies to listen to their customers. FedEx did just that and used its customers' input to develop an innovative product and service called SenseAware. It provides customers with visibility and near real-time access to a package's vital statistics, such as location, temperature, light, humidity, and barometric pressure.

I'm sure your company has implemented some degree of a digital innovation collaboration strategy. But how effective is it? To find out, you need to measure two dimensions. The first is the degree of business value your strategy provides to the enterprise for each of the three competencies. The second dimension is the breadth of the footprint implemented across the business for each of the three competencies. This is depicted in the graphic below.

I've developed a digital collaboration assessment that can help you measure your strategic maturity by capturing best practices for each of the three competencies and underlying components. The assessment enables you to score the degree of maturity in your organization for each best practice. The scoring can then be plotted on the grid. You can then analyze the results and develop a plan to improve the maturity of your enterprise digital collaboration initiative.To obtain a copy of the assessment, contact me at pweinzimer@gmail.com.

 

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