Bryan Sivak was hired by the State of Maryland to shake up the status quo, to find interesting and creative ways of getting things done that others might not have considered before. For instance, he had citizens send in pictures in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene to show emergency management the full impact on real citizens.
One thing that Sivak has recognized the using the power of social tools can provide a lot of information for governments, and if it works for the government, it’s entirely possible that it could work for you in the enterprise too.
For example, how about giving users tools to help themselves instead of calling the Help Desk for every little problem. Often, a colleague has already figured it out, but it requires communications tools like Enterprise 2.0 collaboration tools (such as those from Jive, Socialtext and Telligent) to provide the means for your employees to communicate with one another.
Before you start in with the problems that these tools would bring in terms of lost productivity or misinformation, companies that have implemented these systems have often reported the opposite. John Hagel from Deloitte gave the keynote address at last year’s Enterprise 2.0 Conference in Boston. Hagel told the story of a City bus department, which was struggling to get broken buses repaired and back on the street more quickly.
His team traced to the bottleneck to maintenance guys who had trouble finding parts. By implementing a real-time micro-blogging solution, the maintenance supervisors were able to communicate with one another and find out who had the parts. This was more streamlined than email, which as most of you know, has become a pretty clogged communications channel.
And that’s more of the kind of innovative problem solving you need to bring to the table as IT professionals. You need to look beyond the easy answers and find ways to innovate. And if that means putting someone in charge of innovation to make that happen, then so be it.
The fact is that companies that innovate are the ones that are going to be at a competitive advantage in the marketplace because they have found ways to do things nobody else considered or didn’t have the wherewithal to carry through.
Too often we maintain the status quo because it’s the simplest course of action, but if you want to grow and change, you need to make innovation part of the core of what you do as a company. And IT pros are uniquely position to lead the way — if you make the effort to do it.