Discovering IT innovations that you can apply to your business can be a disorganised and frustrating process. The hottest technology may be inappropriate for your business needs. It's time-consuming to identify and validate new technology with limited IT resources. In addition, traditional ways to learn about useful technologies, such as IT conferences and research reports, may not provide enough proven ideas that are good matches for your business needs. It's time to get creative. Here are three ways to uncover innovative ideas without spending much time or money:
- Visit Venture Capitalists
Investors at small venture firms in your region may be more available for informal chats and meetings than those at large or well-known ones. Some companies, such as Globespan Capital, even have CIO advisory boards that meet regularly to review and discuss IT innovations. As a member of such boards, you can not only get updates on emerging technologies, you can also learn from your peers who have piloted them. In this way, you can efficiently focus on proven technologies that have a better chance of being deployed successfully in your organisation.
- Let Employees Try New Tools
Generating real-world uses with bottom-line value gives you a way to begin a discussion with key executives about rolling out these innovations across the enterprise.
- Pick Business Partners' Brains
Because these companies are researching projects for internal use, you won't be pressured to buy anything. You'll also get insight into bad ideas or technologies that aren't ready for prime time along with information about more promising innovations.
Rick Swanborg is president of ICEX and a professor at Boston University.
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