by Elana Varon

Why Are CIOs Not Part of the Innovation Discussion?

Feb 16, 20072 mins
IT Leadership

    I thought of calling this posting “More Good Stories About Collaboration.” My colleague Chris Koch writes in the Feb 1 issue of CIO Magazine about the “tremendous opportunity” CIOs have to “use IT as the glue for a new, more distributed innovation process.”  There is even opportunity for CIOs to take the lead in devising new processes for innovation. But most CIOs aren’t even part of the discussion. They don’t see—or can’t articulate—their role in the big picture.

    I would love for someone to pick this point apart. We have some other research(from our State of the CIO survey) that shows innovators are more likely to work at smaller companies —something I’ve mentioned in the past. But our innovation package profiles two companies, Procter & and MasterCard—where IT is playing an important role as an enabler of product innovation. So size isn’t necessarily a limitation.

    Don Tapscott, the futurist and author of the new book Wikinomics (read an excerpt here about P&G), says competitors are going to eat you for lunch and dinner if you don’t embrace innovation—specifically, a model of innovation that invites collaboration via the Internet among customers, suppliers, even people who have no preexisting connection to your company. Whether all these constituencies will be able to interact with your internal experts and each other depends an awful lot on the tools CIOs provide at the front end of the innovation process, where you collect and vet and conduct early research on ideas.

    So what is everybody waiting for? What’s keeping you down?