‘7 ways CIOs can become innovators’

Ashish Shrivastava, Head – Information Technology, Allied Blenders and Distillers Pvt Ltd, talks about the skills required to implement an innovative approach to leadership. By Pooja Paryani

Ashish Shrivastava believes that a leader without innovation is deadweight; useless to the company and the team he leads. During his 18 years in the technology space, Ashish has worked in various verticals including IT, media, digital signage, broadcast, manufacturing, retail, augmented technology, and telecom. And he has consistently worked to create innovative operational strategies to promote organisational growth. “Innovation is required in all departments, at all levels,” says Ashish. “You could be a CIO, CEO or CFO, it doesn’t matter; your activities have to affect the business’s end goal. There are new technologies creating new business environments every day. If you keep doing things in the traditional way, you won’t be able to cope and will lag behind. You will no longer be useful.”

“A traditional approach involves a lot of research on a given topic, using a set of processes and formulas to get to your goal. It’s a more standardised way to work that avoids ambiguities. An innovative approach on the other hand is also based on formulas and research data, but has a more practical approach. You come up with multiple possibilities based on knowledge, data and experiences. An innovative mindset looks forward to ambiguities so as to explore different views and opinions to find a quicker, more adaptable solution.

“Leader today have to be agile no matter what the situation. Innovative leaders can find solutions and take decisions even in the absence of information. It’s also important for them to create an atmosphere and culture that encourages innovation in the organisation. This helps everyone in the organisation get involved in the thinking process and be a part of the change. Here are some ways CIOs can incorporate innovation in the everyday workspace.”

1. Look for the details you missed
“When you’re in a difficult situation, you need to deep dive to notice the unnoticed. It’s important to capture what was not seen in the first glance. If you pay double attention in every scenario, you will understand different points of view towards the same issue and get multiple solutions. Deep diving will give you a crystal clear picture, one that everyone won’t be able to understand. This way, your personal attention will help you get a better control of the situation and lead the team in a more effective way.”

2. Have a personal approach
“Personal experiences are as important as data when it comes to being innovative. Firstly, there are you own experiences and what you’ve learnt from them. And then there are the customer’s experiences when facing an issue. You have to be able to understand what they’re going through if you want to successfully resolve a problem. Imagining yourself as the customer will help you think outside the traditional setup. All heads of verticals should have this ability so that they can think innovatively.”

3. Communicate effectively
“An email can only say so much before coming boring and confusing. So sometimes, instead of writing a two-page email, consider creating a visual story or impression or metaphor to describe the situation and communicate the idea. This way leads to more involvement and gives recipients a better understanding of the problem and leads to better solutions.”

4. Bend the rules at times
“The traditional way tends to involve a lot of rules, while the innovative approach requires you to bend some rules to get the desired rules. You’ll need to experiment, come up with different prototypes and ideas. I feel this is a much better approach to problem solving.”

5. Have a collaborative approach
“Remember that you can’t do everything along. At some point or the other you will need help, so you might as well get it from the beginning. Also, you will have to take into account multiple points of view from team members, stakeholders, etc. There needs to be a collaborative approach from top to bottom. This will help broaden your view and help you find better solutions. When at the top, you have to have see the larger picture, like a bird soaring high. You also need a bit of short-sightedness to understand the ground reality. If you have both sights, you can see the extra bit that can be done for better results.”

6. It’s important to craft ideologies
“You might be in a situation when there are two different directions being presented. You could be working with two teams that have different views. As a leader you need to know how to create a third direction by using both views. It is very important to craft the two ideologies in to one so as to have harmony in your organisation.”

7. Be open to different ideas
“As leaders you need to build a comfortable and open culture so that people aren’t afraid to come to you with ideas and innovations. This will encourage them to work harder and challenge themselves to achieve the organisation’s goals. That’s a win-win situation for all.” 

Categories:   Lifestyle, Work Buzz


  • Posted: October 5, 2016 05:43


    Gr8 ideas..
  • Posted: October 5, 2016 05:44


    Impressive ideas
  • Posted: October 5, 2016 05:44


  • Posted: October 5, 2016 05:52

    Geeta Merai

    Brilliant Ashish
  • Posted: October 5, 2016 06:13

    Bhavesh Patel

    Really Gr8 ideas....

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