Every CIO will eventually be asked: “What are we doing about innovation?” especially now that everything is being reset by the pandemic.  

You could start winging it by listing technologies you’re considering like Cloud, AI, IOT, Analytics etc.  Then you see their eyes gloss over and know you’ve lost their attention.  They want innovation in business terms and what real actions you’ve taken.

So instead of winging it, proactively create an Innovation Portfolio Plan that is grounded in desired business outcomes and clearly identifies the constraints blocking your mission critical priorities. 

  “by identifying and removing barriers, it might be possible to accelerate innovation simply by leveraging the capability that’s already there” –Harvard Business Review

Essentially you need to get out of the way of innovation!  So how do you do this?

First you need to understand that you can’t use forecasting as a method of finding innovation, you need to use “backcasting” instead.  

“Backcasting is a planning method that starts with defining a desirable future and then works backwards to identify policies and programs that will connect that specified future to the present”


This means you need to harness the collective wisdom across the functional leadership of your organization to identify their individual ideas of what needs to change.  While each of them bring a different perspective, collectively linked they form a rich picture of your desirable future.  These linkages also provide a granular path to innovation.

Having this path forward enables you to identify the specific innovation targets needed and suggests the potential projects necessary to achieve them. Once you add the business cases for each project then you can create an Innovation Portfolio Plan that is defensible to your management team.

So stop winging it and proactively answer the “What are we doing about Innovation?”

For a detailed case study please reach out to me: Don@Leversource.com