THE IT DEPARTMENT IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR INNOVATION

THE IT DEPARTMENT IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR INNOVATION

Matt HealeyTuesday,23 October 2012
People at conferences listening to bluster

Just look at this innovative group.

The Snap

The conventional wisdom in the corporate world is that IT is responsible for innovation. Nearest I can figure is that the line of thinking goes something like this: IT is a fast moving innovative field so the internal corporate IT department should be responsible for company’s innovation. My thought is that this is complete and total bullshit.

The Download

Innovation is hard. It is difficult to come up with new ideas that are truly different. The reason for this is that there are a few billion people on the planet and they are also thinking up new ways to do things. As a result, truly new ideas are rare. More often than not, innovation involves making marginal improvements on existing processes or ideas. This is still very valuable and a highly worthwhile pursuit. The question then becomes who should be working on these innovations or improvements?

From what I have seen the majority of the tech vendors think that the IT departments should responsible. You can see this because at most tech conferences, someone will display a chart that says “75% of the IT department budget is dedicated to maintenance leaving only 25% for innovation”. The feeling is that this is a problem that needs to be solved.  I think this is fundamentally fucked in the head. The innovation and improvements should come from the core business unit in the organization. If the company is a manufacturing company, innovation should likely come from operations, if it is a consumer goods company it should likely come from marketing, etc. In these cases, the role of the IT department should be to build a platform that can support the innovation rather than be responsible for the innovation itself.

Hat Tips

HP 80/20 RuleTed talks on advertizing innovation, Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

 

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