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Krissi Danielson

How IT Can Enable Innovation Across the Enterprise

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    Key Points and Resources

  • Corporate structure can be a roadblock to innovation
  • Processes can help companies to overcome the barriers  
  • Industrial innovators use plans to facilitate innovation 
  • Listening to the customer is key 

Hear Another Richard Platt Podcast: Applying Sun Tzu's 'Art of War' to Business

View the companion slide show to 'The Art of War and the Enterprise

Read Richard Platt's Bio

Read a full transcript

View the companion Slide Show to this podcast: 'How IT Can Enable Innovation Across the Corporate Enterprise'

View another Slide Show: 'Reflections of a Corporate Change Agent'

View another Slide Show: 'The Skills of a Chief Innovation Officer'

Corporate innovation guru Richard Platt, formerly of Intel, has a lot of strong opinions about innovation. In two previous podcasts, he has described how Sun Tzu's Art of War applies to the corporate environment and why innovation is important for businesses to stay competitive.

But realizing the need to be innovative is only the first step. The second and most important is actually taking that step.

Challenges Companies Face in Acting on Innovation

The corporate structure itself tends to be a barrier to innovation at times, given that middle management is often expected to sort the good ideas from the bad before
ideas reach upper level management.

"Decisions made by mid-level management can be rather difficult and tenuous, because you get into political aspects and if, to any degree at all, a company is siloed, then you don’t get good sharing," Richard explains. "For the individual or the group that sort of comes up with a really neat idea and they’re starting off at the bottom of this pyramid of the corporate structure and sort of walking it through, I mean, you’ve got to be wearing track shoes for the bloody thing and from a corporate standpoint, his isn’t really a system or a pipeline for innovation."

Overcoming Innovation Barriers

So how can companies overcome these challenges? You have to put in place a process, Richard suggests, but the answer to that question lies in the definition of industrial or commercial innovation itself. Formulas and functions exist so that you can evaluate functions and costs with very specific formulas.

Industrial Innovators and What They Are Accomplishing

In researching innovation, Richard says that he spent a lot of time investigating who was actually using these strategies. One source of innovative companies is Business Week's list of the 25 most innovative companies. Numerous big-name companies like H P, Nokia, Siemens, and Samsung use innovation methods.

The vice president of Sigma Breakthrough Technologies developed a presentation evaluating development techniques across 233 manufacturing firms and looked at nine specific approaches. The data verified that when you listen to the customers and end users, companies are more speedy and profitable, and that having specific methods in place to accelerate time to market tended to pay off. A lack of a structure for innovation tends to mean reduced profitability.

"That’s what the data tells usm" Richard says. "It’s been very interesting to see data like this confirm what I had sort of worked out through my research and work in other areas that validates the very direction that Boyd is getting at is in the O-O-D-A Cycle of things: compress time and you’ll gain benefits."

Executive Summary by Krissi Danielsson


Join ebizQ producer Krissi Danielson for interviews with the innovators, movers and shakers behind emerging enterprise software solutions.Have a solution that qualifies? E-mail Krissi at krissi (at)ebizq.net

Krissi Danielson

Krissi Danielsson is a podcast producer with ebizQ and contributor to ebizQ's SaaSWeek site. View more

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