by Elana Varon

Your Innovation Toolkit

Aug 14, 20073 mins
IT Leadership

When was the last time you or someone on your team had a great idea? What happened to it? Whether you were able to execute it successfully or it fizzled out, there’s always room to improve your hit rate.

The aim of this blog is to make you-and your IT department-better innovators. Associate Online Editor Diann Daniel and I are casting a wide net for research, advice and best practices related to generating fresh ideas, applying new technologies, leading and executing innovative projects and measuring the results. Our goal is to provide an innovation toolkit for IT managers that will help you bring more of your great ideas to fruition, whether your charge is to enable new business or to improve existing processes. Because collaboration is key to innovation, we’re eager for your contributions to the body of knowledge we’re building here. So we encourage you to tell us your story, too.

Because even the best ideas go nowhere if they aren’t aligned with the strategic direction of your technology organization and your business, we’ve expanded the scope of our coverage to include IT strategy. We’ll explore the connection between having an effective technology strategy and successful innovation, going beyond the more tactical focus of my old Practical Innovation blog (the most recent posts have been moved to this blog, along with some of Diann’s contributions to our Information Collective blog. You can read older posts of mine here.)

I think the linkage between strategy and innovation is absolutely critical. Maybe that’s obvious, but you’ve told us about your constant struggle to find enough time to do strategic planning. At the same time, according to Sharyn Leaver, a VP and research director at Forrester Research, business demand for flexibility, agility and innovation mean IT organizations can’t rely as much on the technology roadmaps of big vendors to meet their needs.

One way we’ve tackled this subject at CIO is through our recent coverage of our 2007 CIO 100 Award winners. From our pool of applicants, we picked 100 projects that we thought were the best examples of IT-enabled innovation generating business value– illuminating the sweet spot where strategy and innovation meet.

Here’s some more food for thought: A Business Week story last week that looked at new Chrysler CEO Robert Nardelli’s imperative to promote innovation

and our own analysis of the impact Nardelli’s appointment may have on IT at the automaker. I’d love to hear from anyone who knows the auto industry about the challenges and potential solutions to those challenges facing Chrysler’s IT department. How can the U.S. auto industry, which has been distinctly not innovative, use technology to compete?