2. Driving Innovation
In the shifting sands of the digital landscape, innovation is key to staying competitive. Effective IT leaders foster a culture of creativity and experimentation within their teams and thereby drive innovation. They encourage continuous learning and provide the necessary resources for employees to explore new technologies and approaches. By fostering an innovative mindset, IT leaders ensure that their teams are not just keeping up with industry trends but are actively contributing to the organization’s growth through groundbreaking solutions or iterative improvements.
There are many models for fostering innovation, but almost all blend both “top-down “ messaging and enablement with “bottom-up” approaches to incentivize and encourage employees to contribute to innovation. I have personally found that individuals respond well when provided with 2 things: FOCUS – in the form of a good problem or opportunity statement which can be either highly granular or abstracted in the form of a boundary object: FREEDOM – in the sense of freedom to fail if their solution is not accepted, but also freedom regarding how they go about finding innovative solutions.
Driving Innovation is tricky – even the 15 – 20% of ‘side project time’ championed by 3M and later Google has had mixed results and which organisations can afford that? The counter-argument is “Which organisations can afford not to innovate?”. So, the road to successfully driving innovation is long but companies who have succeeded (Nvidia, J&J, Samsung, Lego, and many others) tend to put a lot of emphasis on culture change and embedding processes and resources that foster innovation.
There are very few quick fixes for cultural change within an organisation, but creating an “innovation safe space” or innovation events within a team can be a great start.
As Peter Drucker summarised it “Culture eats strategy for breakfast”
Check Part 1 of this blog series – Visionary Guidance