CIO BRIEF: The Idea Generation Process

How Workplace Safety Insurance Board and EMC create a fluid yet structured innovation climate that accelerates the ideation cycle and makes solutions-thinking a priority

This white paper is based on the proceedings of a CIO Brief meeting focusing on the process of idea generation.

The paper looks at how two organizations developed an enterprise-wide process culture in which employees generate high-value ideas. It offers a five-step process to change IT orientation that involves: focusing on emerging technology; eliminating unnecessary formality; reducing the innovation cycle; collaborating with business; and decommissioning innovation project solutions. It shows how to transform a "skunkworks" mindset around innovation into a legitimate stream of work. And it offers a seven-step ideation process designed to stimulate and develop a pipeline of great ideas. 

Contributing to this white paper are John Hill, CIO and Vice-President of Transformation for the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB), and Calvin Smith, Principal Manager of Global Innovation for EMC.

The white paper is written by Heather A. Smith, a senior research associate, and James McKeen, emeritus professor, both of Queen's School of Business. CIO Brief meetings bring together chief information officers from leading Canadian organizations to exchange best practices around information technology management strategy. Membership is by invitation only.  The sessions are co-sponsored by Deloitte and Queen’s School of Business.For more information on this industry forum, go to:

Smith School of Business

Goodes Hall, Queen's University
Kingston, Ontario
Canada K7L 3N6

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