How to establish a thriving IT innovation hub

Innovation and disruption are essential for business success. An in-house tech hub will help your enterprise meet both goals. Here's how to get started.

Aerospace and industrial giant United Technologies depends on innovation to meet the demanding needs of its corporate and government customers. To ensure a steady pipeline of profitable new ideas, the company created United Technologies Advanced Projects (UTAP), a startup-like organization that builds and pilots products and services with the potential to positively disrupt the company's various business units.

"Innovation hubs of all sizes and scope are truly accelerating innovation by enabling organizations to move with speed ... and embrace a culture of collaboration and agility," says Jason Chua, UTAP's executive director. "These groups help a company to think differently and approach customer challenges through a new lens."

The rapid pace of innovation requires enterprises to understand and leverage an ever-changing pool of emerging technologies. "Having your own technology hub that can research new areas of innovation and equate those back to your business imperatives is critical," states Nelson Petracek, CTO of TIBCO Software, an integration and analytics software developer that depends on its hub to remain competitive in a rapidly evolving and highly competitive market. "A hub can help you determine which of the 5,000 different acronyms that are thrown at you each day actually apply to your business and can be used to drive imperatives forward," he notes.

Building a tech hub and ensuring that it delivers a reliable flow of business-enhancing tools and services requires careful planning, intelligent management and a long-term financial commitment. Here's how to get started.

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