Innovation Can Happen

In large organisations, not everybody with a good idea will succeed in getting it to the attention of senior management. And without that, there is probably very little chance that this idea will ever turn into a competitive advantage for the company. That’s why Danone Information Systems (DAN’IS) initiated a worldwide innovation process, facilitated by Danone’s EMEA CIO Michael Kollig and his team.

So how does it work?

Every member of the global IS staff can introduce ideas on an internal platform. Other staff members are encouraged to comment, like or dislike the ideas, so that popular ideas are becoming easily identifiable. Basically, there are no limitations to what type of ideas can be proposed, but they have to fulfill three principles:

  • They need to be relevant for Danone.
  • There needs to be a clear reason why Danone should do it.
  • A business potential is feasible.

A team of ‘internal venture capitalists’, with funds and resources provided by senior management of Danone IS at their disposal, will then pick the most promising ideas. The creators of the ideas remain the owners and will drive the development. “This is very important to us; we want to give the innovator all the required room to develop his or her idea” says Mr. Kollig.

CIO = Chief Innovation Officer?

Is it logical that the CIO drives such an innovation process? It depends. The CIO is the person in the organization who has probably the ‘broadest’ understanding of the internal processes and usually knows all projects and procedures. Furthermore, it is the responsibility of the CIO to provide enabling technology for the company to improve its competitive positioning. For that, he needs to understand the requirements of the internal and external customers. Combine all of that with the natural affinity for new technology and the CIO looks like the ideal candidate to be the Chief Innovation Officer. “It’s not really important whether innovation is driven by the CIO, it’s important that innovation can happen”, says Mr Kollig.

Read the full article here.

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