Talk To ME Tuesday: How IT Organizations Think About Innovation

ManageEngine continues our weekly blog series called Talk to ME Tuesday. Each week we discuss interesting topics from the world of technology with you, the people that live and breathe it everyday. 

“When the staff in your organization hear the word innovation or think about innovation, what is the first phrase or image that comes to mind,” asked Thornton May, Futurist and co-chair of the IT Leadership Summit at the Interop conference in Las Vegas. “Give us a window into the thinking of an organization when they think innovation.”

In response to May’s question, here’s what some of the attendees had to say about innovation in IT:

“Try to think of what’s impossible and try to make it possible,” said Danny Hollon of Protective Life Corp whose group whiteboards out an idea, tries to prove the idea possible, and after they’ve done a proof of concept, they take the proposal to the board.

For Tom Frey of Topco Associates, innovation in his organization comes in two flavors: those who look outside the organization, and those that look at innovation from an IT perspective. Frey said that innovation is a cross organizational initiative for which IT can be a supportive element.

Jose Cabrera of T-Mobile has a two perspective approach to technology. At one level there are those who just love to play with technology. And then the other level asks, “How can we use that for the necessities of the business and make money for the business?” If it’s not possible, the technology is put aside. “We want to engage the business and make sure what we’re doing delivers value for the business,” said Cabrera.

Innovation is not for everyone as Everette Beach of Palmetto Cooperative Services noted, “We have the young guys are thinking cool, and old guys are thinking oh no, more work.”

“The question is what does the IT organization think about innovation, and the answer is they don’t,” said Cheryl Smith of WestJet. To give innovation structure and invite more people to get involved, WestJet has institutionalized thinking about innovation with a matrix. The grid system asks how mobility, computing, and infrastructure will play out in different timeframes. At each of these time periods WestJet asks its staff, “How will these different areas impact the travel industry?”

“I send it to the rest of the IT organization and they love it,” said Smith. “They just need to do it in a structured way, and we provide the structure for that. It’s been very popular.”

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The original article/video can be found at Talk To ME Tuesday: How IT Organizations Think About Innovation

About the Author: Shannon Lewis

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