Naked Emperor Part 3: CEO hands over to IT department, IT dept hands over to…

Categories: Innovation Insights

In a land not too far away, the CEO of a major travel reservation company read a book on innovation and decidedthat his company too needed to innovate. He spoke to his council of wise men (and a couple of women) and decided that the firm needed a strong computer system to collect ideas.

The Corporate Strategy office oversaw the project as they were going to define the process. They rapidly got bored with the effort required to actually scope a system, and got annoyed when the IT department asked them to provide more detail behind the Powerpoints and flow charts they had worked on. Quickly the head of Corporate Strategy ducked out, and some lowely developers took over the company’s Innovation initiative.

The “IDEA” program was launched (hey, great name!) with an e-mail from the CEO (written by his admin – he never bothered to look at the program). They decided to launch the program with a raffle, and managed to gather lots of important looking ideas.

The first 10 ideas (yes, that was their definition of lots – for 7,000+ employees) were reviewed by the Executive Team. They were unimpressed, and quickly – within a week – responded to the submitters that their ideas were poor quality, and followed up with a whiney corporate-wide e-mail asking for ‘better ideas’ than the first batch.

Shockingly no one submitted any ideas after this time. The program died shortly after (ok, six months later, but six months is a nano-second in a company as slow-moving as this global leader).

Now, says the little boy, what was this Naked Emperor thinking when they got started:

  • You do not hand over business projects to IT departments – it is always bad practice
  • You do not trust internal application developers to make Idea Management systems – what expertise do they have
  • You do not rely on bright, clever internal people to invent brand-new innovation processes… when there are already world-class processes and programs available immediately
  • And you do not bitch about poor qualoity ideas in public if you are a senior manager – that only annoys people

So, please, learn the lesson from this Naked Emperor – and don’t fall for the same mistakes twice.

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