Microsoft on Innovation: Support Organizational Performance

  By Paula Klein, TechWeb

This blog was originally posted on this site on October 25, 2011 by Paula Klein of TechWeb.  It has been updated for August 2012

A company’s strong performance today is no guarantee of longevity: companies that survive and prosper in the long term continually adapt, evolve, and reinvent themselves to stay relevant in the changing marketplace. Microsoft corporate vice president and CIO, Tony Scott says that “successful innovation is more than just invention. True innovation must also support organizational performance, either by directly contributing to revenue growth or by delivering new efficiencies that help improve a business’s competitiveness.”

 Here are seven key points to consider:

  • Innovation is more than just creating all-new products, services, processes and business models. Some of the greatest innovations represent “the adjacent possible” — wherein existing ideas are applied in new contexts to create new opportunities.
  • Technology is central to driving innovation today, both to support and facilitate formal and informal innovation processes and as an ingredient in new innovations.
  • With budgets remaining tight, CIOs have an opportunity to create business value and be a key player in innovation efforts by “re-imagining” IT; that is, finding new ways to use IT to drive efficiencies and free up IT resources to focus on innovation, strategy and growth. In a 2011 InformationWeek survey, 26 percent of respondents ranked understanding market trends — including new products and services — as a key to fostering innovation.
  • Enterprises commonly concentrate innovation efforts through isolated innovation teams. However, sometimes the best ideas come from the people most directly connected with the day-to-day business.
  • By opening up the innovation pipeline to a broader community of employees, partners and customers, enterprises can tap into collaborative brainstorming and creativity, fostering a culture of innovation.
  • At Microsoft, embracing disruptions as learning experiences, along with a balance of invention, re-invention, evolution and a commitment to openness and partnerships are core tenets.

To successfully foster a culture of innovation, it’s necessary for change, evolution and disruptions to become “business as usual.” Whether one calls it innovation or business transformation.  CIO’s are leading the way.         

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