MIS Quarterly Executive


IT units are increasingly being asked to improve the innovative capabilities of their enterprises. However, few chief information officers (CIOs), or indeed their business counterparts, feel their IT units have the competencies and credibility to deliver on those demands.This case describes how Intel’s IT function rose to the challenge. It developed a network of innovation centers, a set of methods and enabling tools, a dedicated innovation delivery team, a clear delivery process, and numerous training programs and innovator workshops, all brought to fruition through a bootstrap-oriented funding approach.Three years after launching its innovation initiatives, IT was the fastest-growing contributor to Intel’s intellectual capital, and IT innovations had delivered significant business benefits. The innovation capabilities enabled by Intel’s IT units have become an important contributor to the firm’s strategy of building competitive advantage through innovation.The Intel case provides seven lessons for CIOs aiming to build innovation capabilities: (1) Take the lead in innovation; (2) Build momentum and use it to expand scope; (3) Measure value and publicize progress; (4) Culture is not a prerequisite; (5) Build an enabling environment and infrastructure for innovation; (6) Don’t innovate alone; and (7) Gain and maintain executive support.