Kick-Start IT-Led Business Innovation

Innovate now – formalize later!


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Your Challenge

  • The CIO is not considered a strategic partner. The business may be satisfied with IT services, but no one is looking to IT to solve business problems or drive the enterprise forward.
  • Even if IT staff do generate ideas that will improve operational efficiency or enable the business, few are ever assessed or executed upon.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • Business demand for new technology is creating added pressure to innovate and executive stakeholders expect more from IT. If IT is not viewed as a source of innovation, its perceived value will decrease and the threat of shadow IT will grow. Do not wait to start finding and capitalizing on opportunities for IT-led innovation.

Impact and Result

  • Start innovating right away. All you need are business pains and people willing to ideate around them.
  • Assemble a small team and arm them with proven techniques for identifying unique opportunities for innovation, developing impactful solutions, and prototyping quickly and effectively. Incubate a reservoir of ideas, both big and small, so that you are ready to execute on innovative projects when the timing is right.
  • Once you have demonstrated IT’s ability to innovate, mature your capability with a permanent innovation process and program.


  • 11 organizations contributed information to assist with the development of this blueprint. Due to the sensitivity of the information, all contributors requested confidentiality.
  • Lorraine Howell, Vice President of Research and Development, Illumiti
  • Kris Woyzbun, Senior Design Lead, IDEO
  • Dr. Patricia Morgan, Dean of Research and Innovation, Humber College
  • Michael Katchen, Founder & CEO, Wealthsimple
  • Debra Allison, Former CIO, Miami University
  • Michael Stilger, Partner,
  • Rob Hoehn, Co-Founder & CEO, IdeaScale
  • Steve Bell, Director of Product Marketing, Brightidea
  • Alf Martin Johansen, CEO and Founder, Induct
  • Barbara Marcolin, Associate Professor, Faculty of Management, University of British Columbia
  • Kin Lee-Yow, VP of IT, CAA
  • Aiden Beattie, IT Strategy Coordinator, Canadian Blood Services
  • Natalie Woyzbun, Co-Founder, Tablo Inc.

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Get to Action

Start here – read the Executive Brief

Read our concise Executive Brief to find out why you should create innovation processes, review Info-Tech’s methodology, and understand the four ways we can support you in completing this project.

  1. Launch innovation

    Sponsor a mandate for innovation and assemble a small team to start sourcing ideas with IT staff.

  2. Ideate

    Identify critical opportunities for innovation and brainstorm effective solutions.

  3. Prototype

    Prototype ideas rapidly to gain user feedback, refine solutions, and make a compelling case for project investment.

  4. Mature innovation capability

    Formalize the innovation process and implement a program to create a strong culture of innovation in IT.

Guided Implementation icon Guided Implementation

This guided implementation is a fourteen call advisory process.

    Guided Implementation #1 - Launch innovation

  • Call #1: Introduce innovation and set objectives.

  • Call #2: Select a team to begin facilitating innovation.

  • Call #3: Prepare to roll out the innovation process.

  • Guided Implementation #2 - Ideate

  • Call #1: Identify opportunities for IT-led innovation and review any finalized problem statements.

  • Call #2: Discuss ideation techniques and review any completed idea documents.

  • Call #3: Establish an idea prioritization approach and help select top ideas.

  • Guided Implementation #3 - Prototype

  • Call #1: Discuss prototyping techniques and review any completed prototype design work.

  • Call #2: Overcome prototyping challenges and review any user feedback.

  • Call #3: Prepare to submit business cases for completed prototypes.

  • Guided Implementation #4 - Mature innovation capability

  • Call #1: Document the target innovation process.

  • Call #2: Create an action plan to operationalize the process.

  • Call #3: Identify innovation program components.

  • Call #4: Create an action plan to implement the innovation program.

  • Call #5: Assess innovation progress and address challenges.

Onsite Workshop

Module 1: Launch Innovation

The Purpose

  • Introduce innovation.
  • Assess overall IT maturity to understand what you want to achieve with innovation.
  • Define the innovation mandate.
  • Introduce ideation.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • A set of shared objectives for innovation will be defined.
  • A mandate will be created to help focus innovation efforts on what is most critical to the advancement of IT's maturity.
  • The group will be introduced to ideation and prepared to begin addressing critical IT or business pains.

Activities: Outputs:
1.1 Define workshop goals and objectives.
  • Workshop goals and objectives.
1.2 Introduce innovation.
  • An understanding of innovation.
1.3 Assess IT maturity.
  • IT maturity assessment.
1.4 Define the innovation mandate.
  • Sponsored innovation mandate.
1.5 Introduce ideation.
  • An understanding of ideation.

Module 2: Ideate, Part I

The Purpose

  • Identify and prioritize opportunities for IT-led innovation.
  • Map critical processes to identify the pains that should be ideated around.
  • Brainstorm potential solutions.
  • Assess, pitch, and prioritize ideas that should be investigated further.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • The team will learn best practices for ideation.
  • Critical pain points that might be addressed through innovation will be identified and well understood.
  • A number of ideas will be generated that can solve identified pains and potentially feed the project pipeline.
  • The team will prioritize the ideas that should be investigated further and prototyped after the workshop.  

Activities: Outputs:
2.1 Identify processes that present opportunities for IT-led innovation.
  • A list of processes with high opportunity for IT-enablement.
2.2 Map selected processes.
  • Detailed process maps that highlight pain points and stakeholder needs.
2.3 Finalize problem statements.
  • Problem statements to ideate around.
2.4 Generate ideas.
  • A long list of ideas to address pain points.
2.5 Assess ideas.
  • Detailed idea documents.
2.6 Pitch and prioritize ideas.
  • A shortlist of prioritized ideas to investigate further.

Module 3: Ideate, Part II

The Purpose

  • Ideate around a more complex problem that presents opportunity for IT-led innovation.
  • Map the associated process to define pain points and stakeholder needs in detail.
  • Brainstorm potential solutions.
  • Assess, pitch, and prioritize ideas that should be investigated further.
  • Introduce prototyping.
  • Map the user journey for prioritized ideas.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • The team will be ready to facilitate ideation independently with other staff after the workshop.
  • A critical problem that might be addressed through innovation will be defined and well understood.
  • A number of innovative ideas will be generated that can solve this problem and help IT position itself as a source of innovative projects.
  • Ideas will be assessed and prioritized for further investigation and prototyping after the workshop.
  • The team will learn best practices for prototyping.
  • The team will identify the assumptions that need to be tested when top ideas are prototyped. 

Activities: Outputs:
3.1 Select an urgent opportunity for IT-led innovation.
  • Selection of a process which presents a critical opportunity for IT-enablement.
3.2 Map the associated process.
  • Detailed process map that highlights pain points and stakeholder needs.
3.3 Finalize the problem statement.
  • Problem statement to ideate around.
3.4 Generate ideas.
  • A long list of ideas to solve the problem.
3.5 Assess ideas.
  • Detailed idea documents.
3.6 Pitch and prioritize ideas.
  • A shortlist of prioritized ideas to investigate further.
3.7 Introduce prototyping.
  • An understanding of effective prototyping techniques.
3.8 Map the user journey for top ideas.
  • A user journey for at least one of the top ideas.

Module 4: Implement an Innovation Process and Program

The Purpose

  • Establish a process for generating, managing, prototyping, prioritizing, and approving new ideas.
  • Create an action plan to operationalize your new process.
  • Develop a program to help support the innovation process and nurture your innovators.
  • Create an action plan to implement your innovation program.
  • Decide how innovation success will be measured.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • The team will learn best practices for managing innovation.
  • The team will be ready to operationalize an effective process for IT-led innovation. You can start scheduling ideation sessions as soon as the workshop is complete.
  • The team will understand the current innovation ecosystem: drivers, barriers, and enablers.
  • The team will be ready to roll out an innovation program that will help generate wider engagement with IT-led innovation.
  • You will be ready to measure and report on the success of your program. 

Activities: Outputs:
4.1 Design an IT-led innovation process.
  • A process for IT-led innovation.
4.2 Assign roles and responsibilities.
  • Defined process roles and responsibilities.
4.3 Generate an action plan to roll out the process.
  • An action plan for operationalizing the process.
4.4 Determine critical process metrics to track.
  • Critical process metrics to measure success.
4.5 Identify innovation drivers, enablers, and barriers.
  • A list of innovation drivers, enablers, and barriers.
4.6 Develop a program to nurture a culture of innovation.
  • A program for innovation that will leverage enablers and minimize barriers.
4.7 Create an action plan to jumpstart each of your program components.
  • An action plan to roll out your innovation program.
4.8 Determine critical metrics to track.
  • Critical program metrics to track.
4.9 Summarize findings and gather feedback.
  • Overview of workshop results and feedback.

Workshop Icon Book Your Workshop

Onsite Workshops offer an easy way to accelerate your project. If you are unable to do the project yourself, and a Guided Implementation isn’t enough, we offer low-cost onsite delivery of our Project Workshops. We take you through every phase of your project and ensure that you have a road map in place to complete your project successfully.

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Search Code: 76498
Published: November 21, 2014
Last Revised: May 6, 2015

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