Tuesday, November 28, 2023

How CIOs Can Foster a Culture of Innovation

By ET Bureau - September 28, 2022 4 Mins Read

How-CIOs-Can-Foster a-Culture-of-Innovation (2)

Companies are increasingly looking to technology to develop new products and services. CIOs can use this opportunity to transform their IT organization into an innovation engine.

Since the early months of 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic forced organizations to reconsider where and how people work, a great deal has changed. The necessity for organizations to continue advancing digital initiatives remained constant. That required CIOs and other IT executives to adopt a “sink-or-swim” mentality and accelerate initiatives even as they made the switch to remote work.

A shift has occurred and IT is now viewed as an equal partner in driving business growth with CIOs recognized as the de facto leaders of innovation.

Here are few ways CIOs can create and nurture a culture of innovation.

Prioritize time for experimentation

A tried-and-tested method for fostering innovative growth is to experiment, learn quickly, reorient as necessary, and scale success. By assigning a team of people to investigate new technologies, conduct experiments, and find business applications, company leadership can also provide time and space for employees to innovate. Competing priorities and a lack of time are the biggest obstacles to innovation. Since technology is developing at an exponential rate, there are always new ways to enhance capabilities and use them to better serve customers. CIOs need to prioritize and set aside time for strategic and creative thinking.

Embrace failure

The innovation sword has two edges: Growth depends on it, but that also makes it risky. It necessitates taking risks and being prepared to keep going in the face of setbacks, criticism, and uncertainty. CIOs can assist employees in developing the confidence to take a chance on failure in order to pursue creative ambition by offering them psychological safety, an innovation-centric purpose, and encouragement.

Also Read: Why IT Leaders Need to Pay More Attention to Explainable AI

For ideas that don’t take off immediately, learn from mistakes and revisit occasionally. There are times when a business is not ready for a particular idea right now, but will be in the future. The key to fostering an innovative culture is to establish a trusting atmosphere that encourages open communication and the breaking down of barriers. The teams need to feel confident that they can openly brainstorm, offer ideas, experiment, take risks, and even fail without repercussions because they can trust the leadership and one another.

Recognize innovation starts and ends with people

The IT sector is in a unique position to assess the overall state of the business and spot opportunities for innovation. But for this to be effective, IT leaders must come out from behind the “tech things” and engage in open dialogue with all relevant stakeholders. They need to identify the areas where people struggle, define the problems in terms that everyone can understand, and then divide them up into manageable chunks that can be enhanced using technological solutions.

It’s also crucial to welcome those within the company who have looked into IT solutions, even if they do not work in IT. The process of innovation can lead to fruitful outcomes when people are taught to have an innovative mind-set.

Focus on innovation rather than technology

The introduction of new technologies is simply business as usual; it is not innovation. To stay competitive, all businesses must constantly implement new technologies. Because of the diluted meaning of the word “innovation,” executives find it difficult to foster an innovative culture because their efforts are frequently met with employee scepticism. As a result, promoting an innovative culture is not dependent on using cutting-edge digital tools or new technologies. Instead, it is connected to the execution of measurable business outcomes that advance the company. The most successful CIOs understand that people innovate and that technology is merely a tool for realizing that innovation.

Also Read: Data Quality Metrics that Every Data Ops Team Should Monitor

Since problem-solving is the core of innovation, CIOs must inspire employees to be passionate about it. They need to promote unrestrained curiosity in people. They achieve success using innovation, this way.

Broaden the partner scope

Strategic partnerships with large enterprise technology companies are necessary for organizations, but they are insufficient on their own. Both innovative startup companies and venture capital firms require time from businesses. By doing this, connected health technologies are developed. Driving innovation requires cross-functional partnerships and collaborations.

Since startups are where tech investments are being made, CIOs are required to spend time with VCs and their portfolio of startups in order to both seek and provide external perspectives. That not only gives the company new capabilities, but it also fosters an innovative mindset and new ways of thinking and working within the IT department.

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ET Bureau

The platform covers e entire enterprise technology space- including emerging technologies like RPA, AI, cloud, automation, and the entire gamut of digital transformation tools, strategies and management decisions.

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