“Debunking Innovation’s Buzz” by Larry Bonfante (CIO Insight, June 2009). It’s worth mentioning that Mr. Bonfante is the CIO of the United States Tennis Association (USTA). Pardon the heavy handed cliche but he serves up a couple aces when he notes:
Innovation isn’t some sort of mystical silver bullet that will solve all of our problems. Nor is it some new technology that we can buy and implement. Innovation is about creatively leveraging the tools and processes at your disposal to drive business value.
To drive innovation, you must be open to the reality that a percentage of the things you try will not work out as hoped. As Edison quipped when asked about the creation of the light bulb, “I hadn’t failed. I just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Is your organization willing to stub its toe, or will it punish people who take educated risks that don’t pan out?
The bottom line… Get out there… Grab some tools… Jump in… And start to figure out what works and what doesn’t for your situation. “Failures” are simply a down payment on future success. Planning is important but also keep in mind that if the rules are shifting quickly then drilling down to too fine a set of details is not going to be very effective. Finally, when necessary seek out open-mind, forward thinking specialists and leave the chest thumping “experts” where they belong — in the 20th century.