How IT Managers Can Find The Innovation That Their IT Teams Need

by drjim on July 12, 2012

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Innovation is where you find it…

Innovation is where you find it…

“Be more innovative” – how many times has your management told you that? Although being innovative isn’t really part of the IT Manager’s job definition, IT Managers still want their IT teams to always be staying ahead of what their internal customers want. We’d like to be able to have our team be solving problems that our customers might not even know that they have. However, it turns out that being innovative is very hard to do. Good news – I’ve got three ways that an IT Manager can capture some of that innovation stuff and apply it to their IT team.

Dive Deep With Your Customers

Where can an IT manager look for innovative ideas? One of the best places is to have the customers that your team serves provide you with the innovation insights that you are looking for.

The trick is finding a way to allow your customers to communicate these ideas to you. One way to go about doing this is to perform what is called a “deep dive” with your customers. Take the time to immerse yourself into the lives of your customers. The results of doing this can include the uncovering of unserved or underserved areas. It can also provide you with information on new directions and new frames with which to search for innovative ideas to apply to your product.

Probe Your Customers

As though a deep dive wasn’t enough, you can take things one step further. You can create and execute what is called a probe-and-learn strategy with the people who receive and use what your IT team produces. This is the kind of approach that IT manager use to find out more about areas where their products are not either active or strong in.

When you are executing a probe, what you’ll actually be doing is trying out new ideas in a new context. The most important thing to realize about probes is that they don’t always work out. A high failure rate is to be expected; however, you need to make sure that you learn something new from every probe that you try.

Look Internally

Innovation happens when someone has a great idea. What this means is that the more people that you are able to enlist into helping you search for innovative ideas, the better your chances are that innovation will happen for your product.

One way to boost your chances of identifying an innovative idea is to enlist other people who work at your company to help you out. This can be as simple as asking employees in the finance, sales, or even the procurement departments to keep their eyes open and let you know about trends that they encounter that may relate to the types of products and services that your IT team creates. This can be a great way to become aware of things that would normally go unnoticed.

What All Of This Means For You

Every IT manager would like their team to be more innovative, but exactly how to go about making this happen is something that too many of us struggle with. It turns out that it’s not hard to do once you know how.

Three different ways to make innovation happen for your IT team include diving deep and really getting to know how your customer is using your product. You can build on this information and create probe projects that try out innovative new ideas with the expectation that most will fail, but all will produce good learning opportunities. Finally, you can tap into the power of your in-house staff: put their minds to work on how the products and services that your team creates can be more innovative.

Everything is possible, the trick is in finding out how to make it happen for your product. Take the time to investigate these three suggestions and see if you can use them to add some innovation to your IT team’s output in order to make it even more successful!

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

Question For You: How long do you think that you would have to observe the people who use what your IT team creates in order to get valuable information?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

“Be more innovative” – how many times has your management told you that? Although being innovative isn’t really part of the IT Manager’s job definition, IT Managers still want their IT teams to always be staying ahead of what their internal customers want. We’d like to be able to have our team be solving problems that our customers might not even know that they have. However, it turns out that being innovative is very hard to do. Good news – I’ve got three ways that an IT Manager can capture some of that innovation stuff and apply it to their IT team.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

jazy @ Jobs in Pakistan July 13, 2012 at 1:45 am

Very important points you have discuss in this article, I would like to thank you for sharing with us. Now innovative mind and thinking is most important, especially in IT field because this field is totally depend on innovative inventions, I have looks daily updating in IT field.

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