This Forum is a follow-up to our Jan. 1 column, which focused on how CIOs can create innovative cultures. Here, we explore how to create processes for innovation.On the surface, putting \u201cinnovation\u201d and \u201cprocess\u201d together seems oxymoronic. Process conjures boundaries; innovation, some say, is best fostered in unfettered environments. But smart CIOs understand the need for both in pursuit of the new.From Concept to RolloutThrough an initiative called \u201cConnect and Develop,\u201d Procter & Gamble\u2019s CEO has mandated that 50 percent of the company\u2019s innovation come from outside the enterprise. Robert Scott, P&G\u2019s vice president of innovation and architecture, Global Business Services (currently on loan to CincyTechUSA, an organization to drive growth in Cincinnati), is charged with realizing this goal in IT.\u201cYou\u2019re going to have to let innovation flow in and out of the walls of your organization and in and out of your company,\u201d Scott says. Therefore, he built connections to the labs of P&G alliance partners like IBM, SAP and Hewlett-Packard and conducts regular \u201cdiscovery journeys\u201d to Silicon Valley. For the \u201cdevelop\u201d part of the mandate, Scott and the rest of P&G employ \u201cSIMPL\u201d (Simplified Initiative Management and Product Launch), which shepherds concepts toward execution. This process is broken into six phases: Discovery, the search for opportunities and ideas; Design, where concepts turn into prototypes; Qualify, where ideas are validated; Ready, preparing for launch; Launch; and Leverage, a step Scott added to market and maximize adoption of IT solutions. (See the online version of this article for more details and see the process schematic below.)The Importance of ProcessAt Stanford Hospital & Clinics, CIO Carolyn Byerly implemented an innovation process framework in the aftermath of a decision to outsource IT to remake the CIO\u2019s office into a more strategic and innovative one. \u201cI wanted a structured way to select ideas and take them all the way to execution,\u201d says Byerly. Her framework includes risk analysis, a key element for this $1.4 billion healthcare organization.Byerly\u2019s five-phase process framework encompasses governance and project management (to see Byerly\u2019s grid, go to the online version of this story at www.cio.com\/030107). Each phase has its own metrics, such as the number of new ideas generated, elapsed time to selection and the percentage of internal and external resources used. Byerly uses the metrics to report on the progress of her projects, which in turn enhances the credibility of the framework.Like P&G, Bayer North America has a corporate innovation initiative to harness ideas wherever they exist. Called \u201cTriple I\u201d (Innovation, Ideas, Inspiration), the program is supported by a global employee portal. All IT-related ideas are sent to Claudio Abreu, senior VP and North American CIO, Bayer Corporate Business Services, who turns them over to an innovation team that engages business users to validate their potential and appeal. If the business likes the solution and it\u2019s proven viable, the idea goes through a project request process and moves into a pilot phase and then, potentially, to production.One notable success story is Bayer\u2019s implementation strategy for a MySAP upgrade affecting 25,000 global users. Developed via the innovation process, it improved Bayer\u2019s ERP implementation and testing results through a combination of commercial software tools and a new approach to engaging the business. The result was a MySAP platform designed to support a $9 billion company implemented in less than six months.Advice for InnovatorsIdeas can come from anywhere and CIOs must seek them out by forming alliances, through staff portals, or from innovation teams.CIOs need also remember that for every upside that a new idea brings, there\u2019s also a downside. An evaluation and testing process allows IT to understand an innovation\u2019s risk. Risk analysis must be part of any innovation methodology. Finally, create a process that works for your organization and make sure you\u2019re a big part of it.