To navigate this evolving landscape—and avoid potential
land mines—forward-looking organizations must be willing
to invest in the right resources, says Ana Maria Riquelme
Riveros, PMP, director of IT governance and process excellence, State of Colorado, Denver, Colorado, USA. Before
starting her current job in 2011, Ms. Riveros worked in
Dubai, United Arab Emirates as head of the IT portfolio
management office at Emirates airlines, where she focused
on change management best practices.
“Being ‘innovative’ isn’t just putting a bunch of technical
people in a room and saying, ‘You guys come up with a bunch
of ideas.’ You actually need to have the right resources and
innovative company culture to build those ideas,” she says.
Because innovation requires investment, the impetus for it
must come not from the project management office (PMO),
but from the corner office. “To enable an environment of
innovation, you need the buy-in of your CIO and CEO,” Ms.
Riveros says. “Without commitment from upper manage-
ment that the company is going to invest in innovation, it’s
Securing a commitment to portfolio innovation takes solid
business intelligence. Senior executives must be able to weigh
the risk of maintaining the status quo against the potential
benefit of capitalizing on a new opportunity.
“The best way to get buy-in is with analytic data for the
sector you work in,” Ms. Riveros says. “If you can show how
much other companies in your space have benefited from
innovation—if you can demonstrate that innovation isn’t just a
risk and an expenditure, but has potential to provide value without
breaking the bank—that will help you make your case, even in very
LABORATORY FOR CHANGE
With executive sponsorship secure, innovation-minded portfolio leaders should
charter an “innovation lab” that will give entrepreneurial employees space to cultivate creative ideas, Mr. Srivastav says. He recommends taking a three-pronged
“SOS”—strategic, operational and social—approach to innovation.
“The strategic vision of the company should be translated to the innovation
lab, which develops concrete ideas supporting each of the company’s strategic
objectives,” he says. The lab also should support operational innovation, which
improves productivity with new processes, and social innovation, which anticipates who will become customers or partners and develops ideas to bring them