A lot of articles I’ve read lately have focused on the need for CIOs to innovate – it’s clearly an industry hot topic right now and hopefully a warning for all CIOs who want to keep their jobs. The time to innovate is now, more than ever.
Chris Curran, in the recent CIO magazine article, “To Innovate, CIOs Must Unlearn,” contends that innovation requires a change in the way CIOs are used to doing things. As he puts it, CIOs need to “unlearn” a lot of what they consider to be standard – innovation requires a new way of thinking.
Some of his suggestions include:
- Anticipating what customers want before they want it – then deliver it before anyone else
- Emphasizing what you don’t know instead of what you do
- Embracing the notion that you don’t need to have all the answers
- Thinking of yourself as a strategic counselor, not a technology distributor
- Utilizing data from outside the organization, not just data that you create
- Bringing software engineering work back in-house; this will allow you to test ideas and see results faster than before
- Forging relationships outside of the IT department, particularly with business managers
As I’ve mentioned before, the CIOs who will most succeed with this shift in their job description, are those who see it as an exciting opportunity, rather than a burden. Focus on what changes you can make and utilize benchmarks to see if those changes are actually having a positive impact on the department.
Do you have any tips for CIOs to drive innovation?