Monday, 7 November 2011

Gartner symposium, using Innovation to change business models

This week I'm at the Gartner Symposium. Blogging app still broken, but I'll do my best. Early start today with 0745 breakfast session looking at "Radically Innovative Business Models".

In the CIO survey last year, Gartner asked how digitised various processes were in the business. Results showed a bias especially around finance and back office areas. But still a lot of things we don't do very well, especially around dealing with customers, and where there's a lot of legacy systems. If we just evolve the stuff we're doing with IT now, probably not going to differentiate ourselves from others, we'll just be the same. So how can we use IT to significantly change the game? Look at how technology has change the book industry, from being able to buy books from Amazon, through e-readers, to rich multimedia books. Technology has driven changes far beyond process change.
But, the value doesn't come from technology alone. The value comes from business innovations, enabled by technology.

Some examples of business innovation supported by technology:
Quest to Learn. A school where every subject is taught as a team based interactive digital game.
Chain of opticians in Japan, called Megane 21. Radically decentralised decision making by setting up an internal blog/wiki. Anyone in the company can make a decision, as long as they put it on the blog for 3 days to get commons. Small piece of technology radically changing the business model.
Friendsurance . Groups of 5/6 friends buy insurance together and partly insure each other.
Topcoder. Split programming up into small units, put them on the Internet and give a prize for best bit of coding. Very successful, and very quick to develop systems.

A little bit of technology, combined with a lot of business process change, can change the way we work and genuinely differentiate.

In some cases, CIOs are too busy with managing existing systems and are not doing the cool exciting stuff. Digital Change Officers are being appointed to do the innovation, whilst CIOs are being tasked to just keep the things running. Interesting that I know one University where the CIO doesn't have any operational responsibility for IT.

Look at other industries for innovation. Eg hotels looked at airline industry and brought in kiosk based on- line check in. What industries could Universities look at to steal innovation from?

Interesting opening session. Now to find some coffee!

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