The Cranfield PhD - Innovating through Information Technology

Cranfield School of Management

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Innovating through Information Technology

Supervisor: Joe Peppard BBS MSc PhD FICS

Innovating through Information Technology

How does an organization marry the capabilities of new and emerging technologies with business opportunities? How do organizations identify opportunities to deploy new technologies in ways that fundamentally transform not just `what they do` but `how they do it`? How can this innovative capability become embedded in the very fabric of an organization? What resources, structures, processes, routines and practices define and shape this capability? How do organizations make sense of new and emerging technologies? These questions capture the essence of a quest that scholars and practitioners have struggled with, ever since IT was first deployed in organizations.

Innovating through information systems and technology is intrinsically about identifying and exploiting opportunities to create new products/services, work practices and processes, enter new markets, create new business models, transform business relationships or expand the scope of the business. This innovative activity can also see IT shaping competitive strategy the innovative use of IT can be a key differentiator that contributes to business success. IT, as an exogenous force, can additionally have a disruptive impact on industries and to survive, organizations must have the capacity to sense and respond to such shocks.

IT has been deployed in both public and private sector organizations for over fifty years now. While there are a multitude of examples of IT being deployed by organizations to provide them with a superior competitive position, in the majority of cases these are one-off instances with these case organizations unable to sustain this innovative capability. Indeed, a study of the classic cases in the application of IT for competitive advantage revealed that these organizations were unable to sustain the innovative capability that they had seemingly exhibited. It would seem, therefore, that many innovative deployments of IT are the result of serendipity or luck rather than any formal innovation process. Although strategic information systems planning (SISP) also has an objective of seeking opportunities to innovatively deploy IT, it focuses more on aligning IT investments with current strategic trusts and achieving business objectives rather than with transforming the strategy itself.

IT innovation is a new emerging discipline, which exists at the intersection of both information technology and innovation. While both information technology and innovation are immature, it appears that their intersection and synthesis in a new cross-discipline of IT innovation can add significant value in a world where information technology is becoming pervasive. Research proposals addressing any aspect of IT innovation are of interest.

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