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4 Ways CIOs Can Unleash Digital Disruption

Here's how CIOs can help break down internal barriers to help their companies stay ahead of the digital disruption curve.
3. Designate Small Innovation Teams To Identify Disruptive Opportunities

It's imperative to have teams banging on the door of upper management for approval to try new ideas. How should you pick these daring crews?

"Spend less time evaluating the actual ideas and more time evaluating which teams generate the most unexpected and insightful suggestions," McQuivey writes. "Look for enthusiasm as a marker."

These teams should form small subteams to refine ideas and come up with new ones. With C-level support, these teams will have the confidence to propose ideas. The success of one team could open doors for another team in another department, which could help curb infighting.

Keep the teams small -- five is a good number. Big teams can struggle to even schedule a meeting because too many people have to sync up their calendars.

Writes McQuivey: "Amazon CTO Werner Vogels famously said its project teams should never be bigger than you could feed with two large pizzas."

4. Make Non-Obvious Competitors Known And Learn From Them

Put aside the usual suspects and ask yourself which are the new competitors doing interesting things in the product area in which you're innovating. McQuivey offers a starter question: "If your customers were no longer able to acquire or use your company's products or those of your main competitors, where else would they turn?"

A good example cited in Digital Disruption are retailers that were competing with each other to create full-body-scanning dressing rooms with expensive imaging cameras. Many didn't notice that Kinect, Microsoft's motion-sensing accessory for Xbox, could do the same thing augmented by technology from FaceCake.

"They weren't on the lookout for Microsoft as a competitor or partner because they were in continual talks with dressing room-imaging vendors," McQuivey writes. "When FaceCake appeared, retailers realized they'd been looking at the wrong competitors."