African CIOs point to 3 keys for a successful innovation strategy

To drive digital transformation projects that create value for enterprises, tech leaders need to systematically think through an innovation strategy.

strategy / brainstorming / teamwork / collaboration / leadership
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Digital transformation is central to the survival of businesses globally, and African enterprises in particular can realise significant growth through innovative products and services that address market failures.

"There is a compelling need for innovation," according to Accenture's Reimagining Africa's future report. On one hand, a growing population and consumer class is creating new opportunities, but resource constraints and technical infrastructure issues put pressure on enterprise profitability, according to the report. 

"What makes innovation so important today is the high degree of inefficiencies that can be seen with legacy IT systems," said Ewoudt Cloete, chief digital officer at Avatar South Africa, a marketing services firm. "Also, market saturation of competition means less room for companies to gain clear competitive advantage unless they innovate and digitise at a faster pace than their competitors."

To lead a business through tech-driven transformation – changing how an enterprise uses its technology, its workforce and business processes -- IT executives need to think systematically about how to build effective innovation strategies, according to technology leaders working in sub-Saharan Africa enterprises.

"CIOs who are not capable of operating at the strategic levels will not be successful," said Helen Constantinides, group chief information officer for South Africa-based AVBOB Mutual Assurance Society.

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