In the world of IT, innovation is a given. IT exists because of innovation and it will prosper only through innovation. But, the most successful companies make innovation a priority outside of just the sphere of IT.
A great example of this can be found in an article from the March/April 2015 edition of IT Pro, “Lessons from Tata’s Corporate Innovation Strategy.” The Tata Group is the largest private-sector employer in India and the UK. The company has a long history of innovation, which became an even bigger priority in the past decade.
In 2007, the company established the Tata Group Innovation Forum (TGIF) to plan and execute initiatives for innovation. To build this mentality, TGIF uses innovation workshops, learning missions and the dissemination of innovation-related materials.
It also employs a questionnaire, the InnoMeter, to measure the state of innovation within the organization. This allows the company to identify areas where improvement is needed. It also utilizes InnoVerse, an in-house social media platform, to augment the innovation lifecycle, starting with idea generation.
Finally, the company recognizes innovation with its InnoVista program. The program has four categories: Promising Innovations, Dare to Try, The Leading-Edge Proven Technologies and Design Honor. This obviously rewards innovation, but it also rewards risk-taking.
As a result, innovation has become important to employees across the organization, fostering internal partnerships and communication and driving change. To measure the value captured by this culture, the company uses the ADROIT framework (Adding volume and growth, Differentiating, Reducing costs, Optimizing risks, Improving industry structure, Transforming business models and processes for continued relevance).
To me, this case study has a number of lessons. The first lesson is related to the value of innovation and the impact that it can have on an organization. Without innovation, there is no growth.
The second lesson is something that we’ve brought up a number of times – that IT should not be siloed within an organization. The most successful organizations find ways for their departments to work together as often as possible, sharing data, sharing ideas and fostering growth.
The third lesson is the importance of metrics. As a company that offers help in measuring the value of software development initiatives, we obviously understand why measurement is important. The Tata Group shows that any initiative can (and should be) measured in order to track success and to truly have an impact.
The final lesson is that we should all be asking ourselves what we’re doing to foster a culture of innovation – and then make strides to improve upon our current state.