Innovation happens at the edge of an organization, with rebellious workers willing to go against the status quo, said an executive with a large IT consulting firm. That doesn’t exactly fit the modus operandi of IT, he said. Venture capital firms interested in investing in startups tend to avoid companies spending a lot on IT, he said in furthering his point, because they don’t believe IT equates to innovation.
IT does not result in innovation, said a vendor CEO on another panel, and pointed to an anecdotal number based on his dealings with corporations that “98% of organizations don’t see innovation in IT.”
I could go on with examples from other vendors (perhaps with their own agendas) explaining how IT is not innovative, though in large part through no fault of its own: Many CIOs still are mandated to cut costs. That’s not exactly a spur to innovation, although some would argue that indeed it is.
The point is that plenty of IT innovation — or maybe we should say business innovation through IT — is under way. Take, for example, the winner of this year’s MIT Sloan CIO Symposium innovation award: Marco Orellana, CIO at Chile’s Codelco, currently the world’s largest copper mining company.
Orellana set out to make the life of his workers easier. So, he helped create Digital Codelco, a system that automated a lot of the functions the miners really didn’t want to do. The idea was to allow them to spend less time in the mines — remote controls for the mines’ trucks is one example.
The idea is that innovative CIOs are in touch not just with the CEO or the C-suite, but also with the needs and desires of everyday workers in the company.
Let us know what you think about this blog post; email Christina Torode, News Director.