Parallel paths to innovation
Fujiwara told conference attendees to look for ways to work within constraints, and at the same time, work to remove the constraints. Temporarily lowering goals can help you to get started and achieve real results. First, focus on low-cost, low-risk innovation activities that deliver actual value. Then continue on to strategies that reshape your environment into a more open, supportive and innovation-friendly culture. “Don’t lose sight of the original goals while doing this,” Fujiwara said. “Work with executives to show why the goals are desirable and how they drive value, so they are receptive to removing the constraints.”
One step at a time
CIOs can use the Gartner innovation framework to plan and execute small activities that get you a bit closer to your desired goals. “By taking things one step at a time, you have at least some chance of innovation and improvements,” Fujiwara said. “You’ll also learn how to innovate, what new technologies are available and how your organization responds to change.”
Make innovation the most fun people can have at work
This approach also helps to build support for innovation. Use the time to gather stories to tell. Engage and build relationships with stakeholders to prove the value. But don’t expect miracles. To successfully lead your organization along its innovation journey:
- Be bold. Write down what success will look like in 18 months if you had no constraints.
- Be realistic. Set achievable waypoints for innovation goals and targets.
- Be balanced. Work within constraints while working to eliminate the constraints.
- Be entertaining. Make innovation the most fun people can have at work.
- Be picky. Focus relentlessly on activities that bring you and your organization the biggest value toward your goal.