CIO’s Role In Innovation – Stirring Up Creativity At The Core (Video)

Forbes video

Many believe that the CIO's role is to keep the IT “lights” on.  Given the I'm a former CIO, I understand and appreciate the challenges of the CIO job.  Below is the link to a video of some of my thoughts on how IT and the CIO can play a key role in driving the innovation agenda within their organization. video: CIO's Lead In Innovation

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10 thoughts on “CIO’s Role In Innovation – Stirring Up Creativity At The Core (Video)

  1. This is simply crowdsourcing. And crowdsourcing is bunk because you extract the value from a group without compensation. Democratizing the creativity process allows execs and other gate-keepers to gain the benefit of a group’s best ideas and not have to recognize individuals for their contributions. In other words, the very ideas that may have allowed a person to distinguish themselves and rise up the corporate ladder are now cherry-picked essentially for free. Execs and upper managers gain value by dangling “inclusion” when the reality is that people are helping these guys, many of whom are dead weight, to keep drawing large paychecks. Often times, it’s done in completely disingenuous ways. HP’s little idea intranet probably works great for everyone at the top of the chain but what benefit does it bring for a person at the bottom would feeds the system great ideas, most of which will likely either be ignored or implemented in the half-ass way most ideas are once they reach the top of the ladder? My guess is that they don’t even receive a pat on the back. I chuckle to myself whenever I see somone propose crowdsourcing… I know their hustle is in full gear.

  2. Wow … seems you have an ax to grind on all executives.

    Let me fill you in … on “the garage” system we use, the person submitting the idea is given full credit and, if they chose, become part of the team that implements the idea. Employees earn “points” for both submitting ideas and supporting/commenting on ideas in the systems. Employees who gather the most points are recognized for their participation in the innovation process …

    One proof point — the person who was the source of an idea that turned into a very successful product now reports directly to me as our lead architect — a major jump in role, responsibility and visibility.

    Yes — there are organizations out there that treat their employees as faceless gears in the organization. Companies who treat their employees this way don’t last for long.


    • Kudos to HP for treating its employees as if they actually have value. But I disagree that companies who treat their employees as “faceless gears” don’t last long. I think that is one of the reasons American business is in the position it is in. My experience with execs in organizations is that the majority are guys who are great at politics, not so great at actually producing or managing anything. As an exec yourself, maybe you disagree and I am willing to accept that your experience may vary. But my experience has shown me that most companies fight their own inertia… and it starts at the top. Expedience becomes the order of the day. Most of those guys wouldn’t know innovation if it bit them in the bum and they certainly don’t understand the value of it.

    • I must side with Mr. King on this one; in my opinion and experience, HP is the exception and not the rule. The Peter Principle is alive and well in corporate America and shows no sign of going away anytime soon.

      This recent article supports my opinion: We see time and time again that in many of our major industries, leadership is poor, shows little common sense, and is clueless about the qualities of integrity and character.

      I sense that you are speaking about the future when you say that organizations who do not recognize employee contributions will not last long; I agree that this is how things should be! However, we need to wait out the retirement of many, many executives before this becomes a reality.

      • I’m afraid these statements are falling on deaf eyes. I doubt Mr. McKinney agrees with our assessment. As an exec himself, I’m sure there’s a desire to cheer-lead for the home team so to speak. Executive incompetence isn’t a subject I expect an executive to acknowledge, particularly the pervasiveness of it. The larger and richer the company, the longer it can sustain poor decision making. How long do you think it will take Palm to tank completely? My guess is that the company will be sold, its execs will walk away rich and many of them will land at other companies peddling their own special brand of “leadership.” Unfortunately, once you reach a certain rarefied air in corporate culture, failure is virtually impossible… there is just too much money propping up the failures. Think of how long Apple existed as a “zombie” company… Amelio honestly didn’t realize that Jobs would pull off a coup and oust him. Bringing Jobs back was a “happy accident” for the Mac faithful after years of gross mismanagement. But Amelio isn’t somewhere on skid row, he’s living swell. It’s a rare upper level exec, especially at a tech company, that suffers truly for their errors. There’s just too much money involved and everyone knows everyone else. I can’t blame them for their hustle but it sustains a mythology that those people are “smarter” than everyone else. That isn’t the case, they can just better afford to make massive errors.

        • I am not sure what you expect for a reply. Your post is an “all management sucks” tome without facts or statistics to back it up. There are plenty of good companies being successful with crowdsourcing. For example, P&G, starbucks, dell to name a few.

          there is no doubt in my mind that you will reply that I suck solely on the fact that I do not accept your “facts” that management sucks. How do you debate with someone like that?

          • I won’t say “you suck,” only that you obviously didn’t read the post or that you already have your mind made up about it. As for facts, I used the example of Gil Amelio to substantiate my point. Sure I could have gone on ad nauseum but I doubt any more proof would sway you. I generally consider it a cheap tactic when someone asks for “proof” on the Interwebz… it’s called the “burden of proof” logical fallacy. Indeed, how do you debate with someone like that? Logic has already failed you.

            As for “crowdsourcing,” I have no doubt that it is very successful… and that doesn’t change my criticisms of it in the least. The effect of “crowdsourcing” is that it commoditizes good ideas. Derek Sivers wrote that a good idea without good execution is only worth $20. But that’s like saying you can grow a tree without a seed. Only a few seeds become trees. Hell, notwithstanding the odd exception, only one sperm in millions becomes a child. Does the abundance of ideas negate their value? Only someone who has monetized their ideas would dare to make the distinction. It’s a symbiosis. Just like a seed needs unique circumstances to become a tree, an idea needs unique circumstances to become monetized. And, sadly enough, good fortune plays an extremely big part of it. Warren Buffett once said that his unique talent for capitalism wouldn’t have been worth anything if he had been born in Bangledesh. So simply being born in the right place at the right time played a huge role in his success (granted, not the only one). The point that I’m trying to make is that “crowdsourcing” allows gatekeepers to get something essential, something that may be worth millions of dollars, for whatever price *they* choose to set. I could make a pretty strong philosophical argument that it is fundamentally unethical but this isn’t the time or place to do it. But you’re welcome to feel however you feel about it.

          • Come to think of it, your post would probably fall under the “straw man” fallacy. My statement regarding execs was qualified as “my experience.” In any case, I doubt I could fulfill your expectation regarding what you consider reasonable proof. It’s impossible to know or present every situation. That being said, you’d have just as hard a time proving that “all management doesn’t suck.” But you’re welcome to try.

  3. Very good insights, as usual.

    However, how do you get CIOs to change their mindsets as regards innovation?

    Does an edict have to come from the CEO as regards changing the expense mix from babysitting current systems to discovering novel uses for the budget?

    While there isn’t a magic bullet, what can nudge a CIO from resting-and-vesting to actually moving things forward?

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