If we think about innovation today, the first thing that comes to our mind is probably related to information technology, complex software, and hardware. If we think about the word “innovation” inside a company, we are therefore pushed to think about the IT department, and we sometimes believe that all the new good things would come from there.
Let me tell you that in the last 10 years I have hardly seen great solutions being imagined and created by the IT department of an enterprise. If I can be more specific, I have seen some good things created by these teams, but even the better ones haven’t reached massive adoption and success.
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On the contrary, I saw great adoption for solutions sold by external vendors where the IT department was not involved at all. So why is this happening? What’s the problem with ideating and developing innovative solutions internally?
I will give you three reasons which may seem a bit provocative:
Number one: innovation is meant to solve an existing business need of the company. IT departments are quite often disconnected from the business side and hardly have a business-oriented mentality. Therefore, it’s unlikely that they would come up with solutions to solve a solution that they are not experiencing themselves. It’s like if you ask someone to solve your problems, but you first have to explain how you feel.
Number two: if you ask business people from various departments of the company, you will notice that the majority see the IT department as a blocker, rather than an enabler. Business people tend to be quite pragmatic, and they tend to avoid complications that could slow down their business activities, and therefore compromise their performance. So, if they have a negative opinion about the IT department, they would not support new developments coming from there, and consequently, they wouldn’t invest their time in testing and adopting new software coming from them.
Number three: are you currently using a solution that has been ideated and created by the IT department of your company? If not, this is another valid reason. If yes, it sounds great and I would be happy to hear what it is.
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