How Can IT Managers Be Innovative?

by drjim on July 24, 2014

Making innovation happen is hard work

Making innovation happen is hard work
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On top of all of those budgeting and staffing things that you have to do each and every day, your company is pushing you to become more innovative. Oh great, and just how is an IT manager supposed to go about doing that – have you had any IT manager training on how to innovate? Being innovative can be very hard to do if you don’t know how to do it. The first step in pulling this off is making sure that you understand what true innovation looks like.

Don’t Try To Please Everyone

Innovation is all about doing new things. This can be a risky undertaking for any IT manager who is unsure of their IT manager skills. We are expected to be able to do the things that will help our IT team to be successful. Generally speaking, people don’t associate “new” with an IT manager. However, the world in which we work in is constantly changing. If you don’t innovate and do new and different things, then you run the real risk of being left behind.

One of the biggest challenges that you are going to run into when you try out new things will be the doubters that you run into. As an IT manager, you interact with your management, your team, and the other departments that your team works with. Not everyone is going to understand what you are up to and they won’t be supportive. You’ve got to respect their doubts and push on – don’t let them hold you back.

The good news here is that you are not alone. As you try out new approaches to old problems, you are traveling a well-worn path. Innovation is what made Thomas Edison, Steve Jobs, and Jeff Bezos successful. Yes, we all know who they are today, but back in the day they were just managers who were willing to try out something new.

Where Does Innovation Come From?

Hopefully we can all agree that innovation is a good thing. Now the big question is just exactly where does the innovation that drives us actually come from? Is this something that only some of us have or is it really inside of every IT manager?

The good news is that I believe that the ability to be innovative is inside of everyone. You just need to have the courage to look inside of yourself and find it. At its core, innovation is that part of us that allows us to act like a rebel. We are rebelling against how things currently are. We have to be willing to challenge the status quo in a quest for something better.

Innovation is not designed to make people feel good. Instead, as you innovate it’s going to end up making a lot of other people quite uncomfortable – innovation is all about change after all. Innovation is all about evolving and doing things that have not been done before. This is going to get you noticed. You’ll be charting a new path and inviting others to follow you no matter what the doubters might be saying.

What Does All Of This Mean For You?

The need to innovate is only now being recognized as a key to a company’s long-term success. What this means is that more and more IT managers are being asked to be more innovative as they go about doing their jobs and their daily IT team building activities.

In order to be successful at the innovation game, you are going to have to learn to do things differently. The first thing that you are going to have to realize is that you won’t be able to please everyone. As you innovate, various people are going to believe that you are making mistakes – ignore them. You’ll also have to understand where innovation comes from. It turns out that the best innovation comes from the IT managers who are willing to be rebels and who are willing to defy the norm.

Yes, your company wants you to innovate. However, they never told you that it was going to be so difficult to do! Innovation is hard work. However, it turns out that that is ok because what innovation can produce is so valuable that it makes all of that hard work well worth the effort. Take the time to think about how you can bring more innovation to your IT manager job and you’ll be richly rewarded for your efforts.

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

Question For You: How much time on innovation do you think that you should try to spend each week?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

As an IT manager, you are always looking to use your IT manager skills to create innovative ways to do your job. If you can come up with new or different ways for your team to get their work done, then there is a good chance that your management will notice you and either a raise, a promotion, or both will be coming your way. However, we don’t live and work in a vacuum – there is always the chance that just when you’ve come up with a great new idea, another IT manager at your company may roll out the same innovation with their team. What’s an IT manager to do?

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