Course info
Mar 15, 2016
1h 10m

What is IT innovation? How is it different for organizations that create information technology and those that use it? How can it be encouraged? This course addresses all of these questions, providing both a big-picture perspective and concrete guidance.

About the author
About the author

David Chappell is Principal of Chappell & Associates in San Francisco, California. David has been the keynote speaker for more than a hundred events, and his seminars have been attended by tens of thousands of people in forty-five countries. His books have been published in a dozen languages, and his consulting clients have included HP, IBM, Microsoft, Stanford University, and Target Corporation.

More from the author
Cloud Computing: The Big Picture
1h 4m
May 17, 2017
Understanding Machine Learning
Feb 4, 2016
More courses by David Chappell
Section Introduction Transcripts
Section Introduction Transcripts

Course Overview
Hi everybody, I'm David Chappell. Welcome to my course, IT Innovation: What It Is and How to Get More of It. I'm the principal of Chappell and Associates in San Francisco, California, and I think it's fair to say that innovation, especially innovation based on information technology, is what drives our world forward. Understanding what IT innovation really is and how it happens are both important. Even more important is understanding how to get better at it. This course examines these things. The major topics we'll cover include the i3 model, which is a simple way of thinking about IT innovation, the differences between innovation in IT users, organizations that mostly use IT, and innovation in IT creators, organizations that mostly create IT, and how incremental innovation, looking for small improvements, differs from conceptual innovation, where you're trying to make substantial leaps. By the end of this course, you'll have a better understanding of IT innovation and a stronger sense of how you and your organization can get better at it. I hope you'll join me to learn more about this critically important subject, with the Pluralsight course, IT Innovation: What It Is and How to Get More of It.

Examining IT Innovation: The i3 Model
The first thing we need to do is define what we mean by IT innovation. What exactly are we talking about? Getting the terminology right is critical because the word "innovation" means lots of different things. Innovation is a powerful word, and the word is loaded with positive feelings. We all want to be innovative, don't we? This is why we want to be accurate, precise even, in how we use the term. Our topic here is IT innovation, which I'm going to define like this: IT innovation is a change, based on information technology, that brings value. The value part is important. Until there's value, we're experimenting, not innovating. Don't confuse innovations with experiments. Because the word "innovation" has so much power, people try hard to apply it whenever they can, but there are lots of examples of things that claim to be innovations, but were, in fact, just experiments. One of my favorites is the various financial innovations that played a part in the last decade's financial crisis. If we called these things financial experiments, which is what they really were, we all would have felt differently about them. They weren't innovations for the most part because they failed on balance, to bring more value to the world. The key point is, it's not an innovation until it delivers value.

Examining IT Innovation: Incremental and Conceptual
To think clearly about IT innovation it's important to distinguish between incremental and conceptual innovation. I'll define those terms in just a minute, but to do this, I need to first give you a simple model of technology. At an abstract level, a technology helps a user accomplish some task. The task might be creating a document or entering a new sales lead or watching a movie, or many other things. The point is that technology is what helps the user, human or otherwise, accomplish this task. The architecture of a technology defines how it's various components work together to accomplish that task. Here's an example. Think about web technology. The original components focused on the task of accessing documents. When Tim Berners-Lee created this, when he designed HTML and HTTP, he was thinking originally about accessing documents. Later components allowed creating applications for other tasks. We added things like CGI, ASP. NET, for writing code on the server side. We added support for JavaScript, for client-side code, for video, and lots more. It's these extensions that have made web technology so broadly useful. The architecture allowed these changes. To summarize, a technology can be viewed as a set of components organized by an architecture.