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15 Ways to Create Innovation with IT

15 Ways to Create Innovation with IT

Top Tips from the CIO 100: Ideas you can use from CIO 100 winners to make yourself a better innovator.

Behind every successful innovator are effective leadership and management practices. Below, 15 CIO 100 winners share their secrets.

1. Don't Rest on Your Laurels "You continuously have to try to improve IT's position," says Foley & Lardner CIO Doug Caddell. "You have to build credibility, capitalize on successes and market IT. If you don't, no one will."

2. Spend Time on Organizational Design "Most IT people don't think in deep and nuanced ways about human systems the way they do about computer systems," says Vince Kellen, VP of IS at DePaul University. "IT organizations are often under-engineered. But they should be treated like any large technology project." The goal is to align employee talents with organizational needs.

3. If You Love Innovation, Set it Free "It's easy to get into the trap of thinking, We innovate it, so we own it," says Scott Sullivan, VP of information technology and services for Pitt Ohio Express. But the real success of IT-led business innovation comes only when the business takes ownership. "It's hard to do. It's your baby," says Sullivan. "But when it comes to IT-driven innovation, you have to let it go."

4. Get Stakeholder Skin in the Game For David Behen, deputy county administrator and CIO for Washtenaw County in the US state of Michigan, the key to successful innovation is to get stakeholder buy-in-not just philosophically but literally. "Get them to put forward some form of resources," says Behen, whether it's human capital, assets or money. "Once you have that, it's pretty hard to stop the momentum."

5. Assume Anything Can Be Improved "You have to have the courage to examine what has been the norm and ask yourself why, and then ask yourself why again, and ask yourself why a third time," says Tim Harvey, executive VP of global distribution services and CIO of Hilton Hotels. Any process has the potential to be more efficient. "You have to find where things can be changed to satisfy customer demand while at the same time improving internal operational results."

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