\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0 Let\u2019s assume your IT department is in pretty good shape. But you want to boost your capacity for innovation. Where to start?\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0 Researchers at the University of Texas, Arlington College of Business Administration are tackling this question with a surveythat probes which of several key IT management capabilities are most important not only to an organization\u2019s ability to innovate, but to its ability to survive.\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0 Anurag Jain, research associate for the project, is looking for CIOs and senior IT managers to take the survey, which you can find here . I think it\u2019s worth a few minutes of your time because it has potential to generate some concrete action items for IT organizations that are trying to learn how to, or get better at, innovating. Here\u2019s why:\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0 It\u2019s accepted wisdom that the best IT departments are good at the following:\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0 \u00a0\u00a0\u00a0 Alignment with the business\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0 \u00a0\u00a0\u00a0 Managing change\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0 \u00a0\u00a0\u00a0 Establishing trusted relationships with vendors and outsourcers\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0 \u00a0\u00a0\u00a0 Managing infrastructure systematically\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0 \u00a0\u00a0\u00a0 Assimilating information about new technologies\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0 \u00a0\u00a0\u00a0 Deriving best practices and lessons learned from past performance\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0 \u00a0\u00a0\u00a0 Ensuring their IT staffs up to date technical skills and have good business savvy. \u00a0\u00a0\u00a0 But there\u2019s little conclusive research, says Jain, as to which of these characteristics have the biggest impact on one\u2019s ability to innovate. So Jain and his colleagues (who include James T.C. Teng, professor of information systems and operations management, and assistant professor Sridhar Nerur) intend to correlate how survey participants rate their proficiency in these areas with what they report about their success at innovation. When the results are tabulated, Jain expects to learn in which areas highly innovative companies do best. (we\u2019ll report the results here sometime in December). We\u2019ll find out, for instance, whether the skills of your internal staff are relatively more important than having strong partnerships with your outsourcers.\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0 There\u2019s even more value in the next step, however: using the survey as a diagnostic tool to identify what aspects of your own IT organization need shoring up. Jain says that once he knows which capabilities are key to innovation, he\u2019ll develop a free self-assessment tool that CIOs can use to rate their own capabilities. He expects to have the tool ready in the first quarter of 2007, at which point I\u2019ll link to it.\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0 However, to develop the tool Jain needs data from at least a few hundred participants (as an extra incentive, those who take the survey get a chance to win one of several well-regarded management books and can get their own copy of the survey results). Jain\u2019s also made it easy for you to link back to CIO.com when you\u2019re done with the questionnaire.\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0 If you do take the survey, let me know what you think about it.