Over the past few months, there have been a few articles and studies published that examine the chief obstacles to enterprise innovation. One of the best articles was written by business strategy expert Gary Hamel for The Wall St. Journal. Although Hamel's article predominantly focused on which companies are particularly innovative and why, he did devote a section to what he cites as the top seven limits to organizational innovation, including:
-Few, if any, employees have been trained as business innovators
There's an article in guardian.co.uk which discusses how FDM Group, an IT services provider in the U.K., plans to double its graduate recruitment in 2011 and add 1,000 new jobs to help tackle IT graduate unemployment.
Here's how it works: successful applicants receive 12 weeks of training, then spend two years working for one of FDM's clients worldwide, including companies such as Bank of America, UBS, HSBC and BSkyB. With a 16 percent unemployment rate among IT graduates in the U.K., it's hardly surprising that FDM received over 20,000 applications for 500 openings to its Academy Programme in 2010.
I read an interesting blog about how the emergence of cloud computing may result in a wide range of new titles and responsibilities. I'll touch on some of those that were listed and include a few that I see emerging as well.
One such role/title that's cropped up is CTO of Cloud Computing, a designation that's held by Lewis Tucker at Cisco, according to a recent Fortune article. Tucker describes his role as one where he has "to make sure that (cloud) disruption happens in a very positive way - that we can use it as an opportunity."
On Dec. 9, the Obama administration releasedan ambitious 25-point IT management reform plan. The strategy, announced by Federal CIO Vivek Kundra, is aimed at eliminating wasteful spending, streamlining the IT footprint of the federal government, shifting to a "Cloud First" policy and designing 21st century career path programs for at least some federal IT workers.
For instance, the plan includes efforts to either fix or scrap underperforming IT projects over the next 18 months. The government also plans to eliminate at least 800 data centers by 2015.
China is on pace to become the world's most important source for innovation by 2020, overtaking both the U.S. and Japan, according to a public opinion survey conducted by drugmaker AstraZeneca that will be released next week.
According to the survey results, which were pre-released earlier this week, the U.S. is currently viewed as the world's most innovative country, according to 30 percent of the 6,000 people who were polled, followed by Japan with 25 percent and China at 14 percent.
Companies have been getting a lot more serious about investing resources in innovation as CEOs push to generate new revenue streams in a sluggish economy. As they do, a growing number of companies such as Harley-Davidson, Motorola and Xerox have set up cross-functional innovation teams to brainstorm on breakthrough ideas to support different areas within the organization. More on that later.
First, how important is it to have a single senior business executive to spearhead innovation within the organization? To that end, which executive should it be? The CIO? CMO? COO? The answer to this depends on a few factors, including the industry the company is in, the culture of the organization and the person who's best suited for that role.