colors_blurrred_speedEvery industry is inundated by the tsunami of mobile, Big Data, the Internet of Things, and the Cloud.  To stay relevant, organizations need to interact with and respond to customers, partners, suppliers and other stakeholders in real time. We need to not only react to, but to anticipate their needs and to continually upgrade our abilities to engage, supported by data, analytics and technologies with an innovation mindset. Few organizations have the resources to develop these capabilities by themselves.

Many are responding with research and development labs, or innovation centers, and some even with their own venture capital funds to identify and partner with technology start-ups. They have named chief innovation officers to lead innovation and make sure that innovation efforts are strategically aligned with their corporate strategy and goals, and are more than just think tanks. But naming a chief innovation or analytics officer will only take you so far. Effective innovation requires organization, culture, and technologies.


  • Strategic Alignment: Align your innovation strategy with your business strategy. Secure senior management buy in and communicate business results with an Innovation Scorecard to ensure continued funding.
  • Governance: Develop a formal innovation group with clear scope and roles. Define and publish innovation charter, scope, processes and guidelines.



  • Immersion: include innovation as a core capability; make it part of your organizational DNA. Include as an objective in every employee’s annual performance plan.
  • Incentives & Recognition: Provide incentives and rewards for innovation. Recognize innovation and value attained via the Innovation Scorecard. Create an Innovation Community of Interest for ongoing communication and collaboration.


Tools & Technologies

  • Methodologies: Adopt innovation design methods like Design Thinking, to evolve to a stakeholder centric (customer, partner, etc.) mindset instead of a product centric one.
  • Technologies: Develop a technology Innovation Sandbox to try new applications and technologies. Take advantage of Cloud applications and environments for agility.


Innovation is fast becoming a critical table stake. Organizations cannot survive, let alone grow, without an innovation mandate. Be creative; be agile; be quick. Create pilots. You don’t need to do it all by yourself. Collaborate with current vendors in co-innovation; participate in their advisory councils; engage in Beta testing of new technologies. Research and engage with start-ups as well. The innovation race is on!

For more on this subject, see my series on BI Competency Centers. And join the conversation here, or by following me on  Twitter at @PatSaporito