3 Places To Go Looking For Innovation

by drjim on February 12, 2015

Innovation is something that does not just show up – you have to go looking for it

Innovation is something that does not just show up – you have to go looking for it
Image Credit: Bada Bing

In order for your IT team to accomplish all that is being asked of it, both you and your team are going to have to become innovative. As we are all probably quite aware of now, this is an easy thing to say, but it can be devilishly difficult to do no matter what IT manager skills we believe we have. The heart of the problem comes from not knowing where an IT manager needs to start your search when you go looking for the inspiration that often turns into innovation.

Three Places Where Innovation Lives

Just getting good ideas is sometimes the most difficult part of helping your team to be more innovative. What you need to do is to find the right places to look for those ideas that you’ll be able to take and turn into the sparks that will light your fires of innovation. Unfortunately this is not something that is covered in any of the IT manager training that we receive.

One of the first places that you’ll want to look for ideas is back into the history of your own company. What you’ll be looking for are ideas that have been tried, but discarded. Yes, there probably was a good reason for the company to walk away from the idea when it was originally investigated. However, things change. It might be time for your team to go back and take another look at these discarded ideas. The time might now be right to take one of them on.

While you are at it, your team might want to revisit the company’s mission statement. Yeah, I know we generally laugh about these things, but taking the time to get it out and dust it off might deliver unexpected benefits. If you can understand what originally motivated the company, then you might be able to discover ways to recapture that company spirit in a new way.

Depending on the size of your company, there are probably things going on there that you don’t know about. Take the time to prowl your company and learn who it employs and what they are working on. Sometimes an innovative idea can come from the hidden assets that are already in the company.

We are all proud of what our company has accomplished and the talent that we have inside of the company. However, when it comes time to be innovative, sometimes it is best to take the time to look outside of the company. There are a number of different ways to go about doing this. The simplest is to hire outside experts to bring in a different way of looking at things. Another is to take the time to study companies working in other industries. No matter how you do it, taking the time to watch how others work can provide you with the innovative insights that you are looking for.

What All Of This Means For You

In today’s modern IT environment, innovation is the lifeblood that keeps teams together and allows them to operate at a high level. As an IT manager, in addition to all of that IT team building stuff that you are supposed to be doing, it is your job to know where you can go looking when you need to find the “innovation spark” that your team needs

There are three places that you can start to look for innovation inspiration. The first of these is the history of your company and your team. Look for things that have already been tried and which failed. Are things different now, could this thing work today? Next, take look for hidden assets within your company. Solutions may have been created for different problems that can now be used to solve current problems. Finally, don’t limit yourself to your industry. Look at firms in other industries and people who work on other things to provide you with insights.

The great thing about innovation is that there seems to be an unlimited amount of the stuff. However, when we feel the need to get our hands on some of it, it can prove to be very difficult to locate. Knowing where to look for innovation inspiration can be the key to having a long and successful IT manager career. Keep your eyes open and you just might be surprised where you find you best source of innovation inspiration.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Management Skills™

Question For You: What do you think would be the best way to identify the hidden assets within your company?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

Most of us who have become IT managers did it by first being IT workers. While we held the jobs that got us here, we learned an important lesson. That lesson was that if we wanted something done right, then we really needed to do it ourselves. Once we become IT managers, even though we now have IT manager skills things didn’t really change. We still ended up getting our hands dirty when something really had to be done the right way. Perhaps this is not the right way to be doing things…

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