CIOs talk a lot about innovation. Actually, it’s often all they talk about – along with a bunch of related concepts, such as value, efficiency, globalisation, leadership and partnership. But what is innovation?
It’s a question that’s being analysed in a number of ways by CIO Connect and I’m putting together a special feature, speaking to CIOs and senior researchers at blue-chip businesses. Early conclusions? CIOs – and other business executives, more generally – often wrongly focus on the ‘blue sky’ element of innovation.
‘Blue sky thinking’, as well as being a bloody awful phrase, is only one tenet of innovation. It covers the research and development part, the creativity. But there’s another area of innovation that is probably more important, especially in the current economic climate.
Innovation is not just about developing something ‘new’, it is also about the re-use of existing assets in different and exciting combinations. Basically, it’s about regeneration and making good with something bad – ‘brown-field site thinking’, if you will (to borrow and manipulate the phrasing of geography).
Now, which is better – ‘blue sky thinking’ or ‘brown-field site thinking’?
I’m putting together a feature on location-based services for CIO Connect’s spring 2009 magazine (brief below). As ever, I’m looking to talk to CIOs that have implemented are – or are thinking about implementing – location-based services. Here’s the brief – and ping me an email if you have any leads:
Location-based services and presence – Modern mobile devices offer a host of possibilities for CIOs. Location-based services can allow the business to deliver geographically-sensitive information. What types of location-based services can help CIOs change business processes? Potential areas of discussion include convergence, presence and tracking.
Sometimes you miss an article that you later find and think: “Hmmm, this looks tasty”. I’ve just had such an episode, discovering and then reading ‘A sonic postcard from the past’ from The Guardian in early June:
In quiet corners of the British Isles, a strange kind of nostalgic music is prospering. Some of it summons up disused railway tracks and endless childhood summers through guitar drones, samples and field recordings…
…begins the article. They had me at the ‘endless childhood summers through guitar drones’ bit. The article goes on to discuss how a bunch of like-minded artists are making music inspired by concrete precincts and old ordnance survey maps. In other words, the best bits of geography.
The piece refers to a bunch of artists who often hail from the West Midlands and who make music that recalls all the best bits of the last 30-odd years of UK music. Basically we’re talking about my musical bag: Brian Eno’s ambience, shoegazing and 80s indie pop.
I’ve been listening to two of the main protagonists for a while, namely Epic45 and July Skies – both of whom rely on the skills of Anthony Harding. I’ve seen both acts associated with shogazing and post rock, but not Psychogeography – which according to The Guardian: “is the study of the spooky effects of the geographical environment on individuals”.
But whatever the ‘tag’, I like the sentimental mix of geography, guitar drones and the West Midlands.