How do we drive innovation in our organization?
Our firm lags the market in applications of technology to provide competitive advantage and help differentiate us. I.T. looks to the Business to bring forth requirements and the Business looks to I.T. for leadership and direction. As a result, we're stuck and falling behind our competition.
Pull your team together (remove your silos) and have them join forces as they look to your customers for direction. Create a focus group. Ask your customers questions about what you do excellently. Ask about what you do poorly. Ask how you can make their buying experience better. You can run established pet projects by them to feel out interest. And you can find out about what your competitors do right or wrong. Pulling the team together and involving them from the start of the process does many things, but a few of them are:
1. Your team can spitball ideas around mutually observed opportunities immediately following each focus group session
2. Your team can flesh out opportunities using a common understanding of your customers needs, and base solutions around available technologies
3. Great ideas seem to take on a life of their own, making it easier to generate progress.
I would make sure the project has buy-in around the table before you start to develop an idea or "disinterested" parties can sand bag progress and generate tremendous frustration.
Also, make sure you handle focus groups with legal input. The last thing you want to do is get sued for taking a customer's idea. Best of luck.
What a great question, and, not an easy one to answer. The primary challenge here is the delegation of responsibility. Naturally each camp will point to the other, however, I would suggest a brainstorming weekend retreat or session in a closed room. Technology innovation can be perceived in many different ways, apps, social media, blogs and more. At the end of the day, it will also depend on two things, your market and your product or service. Only the people within the organization know enough about your product or service to be able to determine what the right approach or course of action is. However, they also need to be motivated to want to do something about it. I would suggest that you bring in a coach or consultant, no different than a marriage counselor to help with the session and get to the root of the solution.
The problem from my point-of-view, stated bluntly, is the disengagement between "business" individuals, and "technical" individuals. Since each has expectations driven to their particular expertise, it is rare to find agreement. Then there are the "miracle cases" where a single individual possesses both kind of skills. Then the problem is dissonance in integrating such a person with the other individuals. Innovation is driven (typically) by individuals or small groups. Look to the kind of innovation you are searching and find those people who stand out from the crowd as "odd" folks.
Suggest a leadership Alignment Day to come up with Strategic Plan ......and then executed via 90 day plans ! Happy to speak
It appears neither your firm nor the IT organization is having the right discussion. You IT leadership must have a seat at the strategy table in order to deliver the right conversation.
If the business perceives a market opportunity for competitive advantage then the business focus is the unique position (competitive advantage) that will be achieved, the advantage resulting from cumulative steps over time and how that competitive advantage will be sustained.
If your IT organization is not part of that critical discussion, then it is understandable why your firm lags your competitors.
It's like football. If I'm the running back and the quarter back has not called the play where I can hear it, then I do not know which play is at work, the yardage advantage I need to achieve for the team and I don't know how this play will position the team for the next play for the competitive advantage for the win.
The business put the IT team at a distinct disadvantage and cannot deliver the business vision. Clearly, not knowing more than you shared here, your firm functions within a siloed environment, all required information needed by the IT players to develop a workable game plan to executive the strategy is kept in the boardroom, and the executives are simply not talking, and, not inviting IT to engage in the 'big' picture.
I am always hopeful someone in an organizational structure like yours has the will to step up for the right discussion but with the risk of losing one's position looming over every move and decision, it is highly likely you will continue to lag until your firm loses enough revenue for an executive realize either a change in how business is managed or simply shut the doors.
Your firm is not alone. A few high profile legal firms are engaged in sizable layoffs currently over this very issue you raise.
IT cannot move forward until management is inclusive around its strategy. If you overcome this hurdle then, the direction IT needs and the implementation the business wants will converge and your company will be on the path toward market leader.
Hope this helps.
I'm one of those who judges a book by its cover, a movie by its poster, and a business by its website.
Just by looking at the website, I can tell that the business is lagging behind and suffering.
I.T is right for looking at the leadership, and leadership is correct about looking at I.T but the question is: are they listening to each other? Has there been a SWOT analysis? Is there a bad apple in the team that's causing things to slow down?
But to encourage "innovation" in general, there are many different tactics to motivate a team to think outside the box, that includes team exercises, field trips, and some even tried meditation sessions.
The question that you're asking is the right question but unfortunately I don't have the background info to provide a more detailed answer. Feel free to message me with more details.
You need a professional outside innovation consultant, but be very careful. You may not have identified your root problem. If you think you need a new hammer, there will be many hammer experts who confirm your belief. What if you needed a saw?
Hi Patrick, when anyone tells me their company lags behind the competition, my advice is "don't play catch up, leap-frog over them."
Where there is stalemate, who's supposed to be the boss? There can only be one boss, 50-50 partnerships should be avoided.
Please take a look at my site http://programify.com, there are a couple of projects you might be interested in. Otherwise I'd be happy to offer my penny's worth for free over the phone.
Innovation is associated with thinking. People who are thinkers are innovators. When I was heading services business in a multinational, I took few steps which took innovation in our company to a new height. 1. Do not try to be a control freak 2. Trust your team members and it should be visible 3. The team members should have free mind i.e. no worries related to insecurity and finances 4. Make them believe that they are the stake holders in your business no less than yourself 5. Reward them for every achievement, however small it is, by token of appreciation which may even be a certificate. I hope that most of the leaders practice most of the points mentioned.