“But if innovation is simply a matter of learning about more technologies, why do organisations find it so hard? One reason, says Mirchandani, is the fact that people are encouraged to specialise in their careers. “During the Renaissance, people were encouraged to be good at many things,” he says. “Today, that’s a dying breed. Even in business, we encourage people to be very siloed.”
That specialisation happens at an organisational level too. The IT department, Mirchandani says, has been typecast in a particularly narrow role. “IT was sent into the woods at some point in the late 1990s; we had Y2K overruns, we had ERP overruns, we had e-business which was overhyped. In the early 2000s, therefore, a lot of CIOs started reporting to the CFO and what the CFO wants is compliance and control.”
This puts IT departments, and the executives who run them, in a difficult position when it comes to innovation. On the one hand, Mirchandani says, “they have a 30-year lead in terms of deployment of technology, understanding its cost and how to deal with technology suppliers.” This means that “CIOs are extremely well positioned as we move into a world of more compound innovation.” But Mirchandani argues that innovating while serving the ‘compliance and control’ agenda is beyond even the most polymathic of IT executives. “You can’t expect the same person to do both – they are mirror opposites.” “
“Nearly every topic has a canon, a set of classics that you need to know. These works are recognized as key touchpoints of analysis and understanding. Technology, though, seems to resist that sort of thing. We think of it as something that is changing too fast for anything to remain relevant for long.”
..”The great themes of technological art and literature are represented: the control of nature, the control of electrons, cyborgs, artificial intelligence, network building, Gutenberg, the rise of the digital. Read these books. They are worthwhile.
If there is one thing that stands out to me looking at the entire tech canon, it’s that history matters in technology because history is how the world got to be the way that it is. (There are two books in the top ten with the word old in their titles.) We might be inventing the future, but it’s out of the rags, riches and remainders of the past. We can’t escape history, even by making new things.
And why try? It is how people use and shape technology — where we intersect with our machines — that determines what the world’s possibilities become. If we left out all we humans already know and have made and bring to newly created things, we’d only know half the story. Our bodies and our brains and our ideas and our laws matter.
We are the software that runs the world’s hardware.”
“Fourth are the cyborgs, companies like Google, Amazon and Apple that have been purpose-built to achieve super-human feats of innovation. You won’t find much industrial age DNA in these organizations. These companies have been built around principles like freedom, meritocracy, transparency and experimentation. They are so endlessly inventive and strategically flexible they seem to have come from another solar system—one where accountants are treated as servants rather than gods.”
Forrester report on creating Architecture Innovation Zones to encourage business innovation. Speaks of risk management over risk mitigation, enterprise architects embracing (rather than stifling) innovation and need to ready to operationalize innovation zone technology.
“Architects have long struggled to find the correct balance between innovation and standardization. Over the past few years the scale has been more heavily weighted on the standardization side. The economic downturn put pressure on operating budgets increasing the pressure to reduce costs, while CIOs put pressure on EA organizations to prove their value. These pressures have encouraged EAs to focus more on cost savings than strategy realization, and standardization is their No. 1 tool to manage cost. This shift hasn’t stifled innovation so much as it has moved it even further into the business – and farther away from IT’s influence. When architects don’t fully embrace and support innovation, they fundamentally cut themselves out of the innovation process.”