It is time to face a bitter truth in 2015: if your company or team does not stay ahead of the pace of change, you're toast. Or in the famous words of renown management consultant and social ecologist Peter Drucker, you must innovate or die. Innovation itself is not a destination, but rather a perpetual journey. The path is not always clear and obstacles will always be present along the way. The reward is an ROI that positions you, your IT organization and ultimately your entire company in a leading position among your competitors.
Here are some core tenets that will prepare you for progressing through the innovation journey:
- Keep IT Agile: As information technology continues to proliferate, the process of selecting, deploying and managing IT systems is becoming more complex and not getting easier. Therefore, IT organizations must rapidly adopt agile-methods to keep up with the rapid pace of change and to ensure that they can respond to the ever-changing demands from the different lines of business and customers.
- Discover What You Can Automate and Automate IT: If you take the time to study all of the different work flows within your organization, you will realize that a lot of your colleagues are performing the same repetitive tasks on a daily basis. Automating some of these repetitive tasks could potentially produce double digit productivity gains across the entire organization. This may not seem like true innovation, but you must remember that innovation is a marathon not a sprint.
- Find Leverage Among Other IT Pros and Service Partners: The most successful innovation leaders know that the best and most innovative ideas sprout from a truly collaborative group. Get involved in communities of other IT professionals outside your organization. These communities offer a wealth of knowledge and connect you with other IT professionals that may have faced or are currently facing the same innovation challenges that you're facing. Also, some of the best ideas may come from your current IT service vendors that are already well acquainted with your organization. Often times, they can offer a non-biased outsider's point of view.
- Listen to Employees and What They Have to Say: In many organizations there's a huge divide between employees and the IT department. For many, IT departments can be seen as the gate-keepers that limit access and functionality to critical systems and valuable corporate data. True innovation occurs when there is a climate of reciprocal trust. You must initiate warm, collaborative relationships with your colleagues and make yourself highly accessible to them.
- Create a Common Enemy: Your team has to feel inspired and motivated to change the status quo. Since the dawn of modern civilization, people have accomplished great things when they had a clear sense of purpose and meaning in the work that they were doing. Motivate your team by making complacency and the competition your common enemies.