Creating a culture for innovation

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Organizations of all sizes struggle to innovate as successfully as they’d like.

Changing markets and disruptive forces require an organization that can change rapidly, to gain a leg up on the competition. Yet conventional wisdom says change is hard, especially culture and organizational change. But what if it was easy? Getting this right can be a source of long term competitive advantage.

Gartner research has identified 6 barriers Enterprise Architects and Technology Innovation leaders must overcome to transform their organizations into successful digital business.

Digital innovation can be successful only in a culture of collaboration. People have to be able to work across boundaries and explore new ideas. In reality, most organizations are stuck in a culture of change-resistant silos and hierarchies.

The lack of willingness to share and collaborate is a challenge not only at the ecosystem level but also inside the organization. Issues of ownership and control of processes, information and systems make people reluctant to share their knowledge. Digital innovation with its collaborative cross-functional teams is often very different from what employees are used to with regards to functions and hierarchies — resistance is inevitable.

Many business leaders are caught up in the hype around digital business. But when the CIO or CDO wants to start the transformation process, it turns out that the business doesn't have the skills or resources needed.

Most organizations follow a traditional pattern — organized into functions such as IT, sales and supply chain and largely focused on operations. Change can be slow in this kind of environment.

Digital innovation requires an organization to adopt a different approach. People, processes and technology blend to create new business models and services. Employees need new skills focused on innovation, change and creativity along with the new technologies themselves, such as artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT).

Having the right talent is essential, and having the right practices lets the talent work effectively. Highly structured and slow traditional processes don't work for digital. There are no tried and tested models to implement, but every organization has to find the practices that suits it best.

It's often technically challenging and expensive to make digital work. Developing platforms, changing the organizational structure, creating an ecosystem of partners — all of this costs time, resources and money.

Over the long term, enterprises should build the organizational capabilities that make change simpler and faster. To do that, they should develop a platform-based strategy that supports continuous change and design principles and then innovate on top of that platform, allowing new services to draw from the platform and its core services.

Are you experiencing the same challenges?

EA and technology innovation leaders, including CTOs, seeking to improve the quantity and quality of innovation in their organizations should:

  • Identify the key barriers to innovation in their organization using internal interviews or surveys, and prioritize which ones to address.
  • Identify and deploy at least three tactics to address each key innovation barrier. Evaluate their success regularly and experiment with new tactics to optimize innovation processes.

Want to gain more insights like these? Join us at Gartner Enterprise Architecture & Technolgy Innovation Summit, 10-11 June 2020, in London.