Over the last few weeks I collaborated with a few people to write an innovation manifesto for an IT function. I think the following statements are a pretty good starting point to becoming more innovative:
We prefer outside-in over inside-out
You can start by looking what issues we have internally and then find solutions for those issues. You can also look at what issues are worked on externally and try to bring solutions to those issues inside. Organization will continue to be good at doing the former, that is why we prefer to focus on the latter.
We share the responsibility
We are all responsible for innovation. Each of us tries to work on their own discovery skills (associating, questioning, observing, experimenting and networking) and the discovery skills of others in the team.
There is always business involvement
For each experiment (proof of concept) that we do, we will have somebody in the business working with us. We don’t innovate by ourselves and realize that innovation requires multiple businesses and functions to collaborate.
We shape expectations
We build informal coalitions of people who work on an opportunity. Together we explore where the value lies. We encourage ambition without creating expectations that can’t be met.
We are user-centered, not technology-focused
The user does not care about the intricacies of IT, they just want things to work well. We take a user-centered perspective when looking at problems and solutions and regularly sit next to our end-users. We recognize that technology is not always the innovative solution in all cases.
We have a bias to “yes”
Saying “no” to ideas and plans is easy. We aim to say “yes, let’s investigate” and then work on trying to make it happen in a way that is cost-efficient and addresses any risks.
We focus on the achievable
Everything we do should have a do-able plan and sit within our sphere of influence. Organizations are good at big strategic initiatives already. Our efforts are nimble and have a shorter timeline, while keeping the bigger plan in mind.
We leverage what is already there
We reuse what has been done elsewhere in the business. We allow our suppliers and vendors to help us use their products better. We are good citizens in their customer communities.
We are experts in our domain
Our knowledge in our domain is deep and extends from internal processes and technology to the external market in all its dimensions. We invest heavily in our own expertise.
We accept and embrace change
Innovation starts with a willingness to accept change.
I am sure many innovation gurus wouldn’t agree with all the points above. Some people would argue for example that expertise can be a hindrance to innovation or that you should aim for what isn’t currently achievable. I am very curious to hear your thoughts.