The Innovation Value Institute (IVI) is a unique industry-academic open innovation consortium. IVI researches and develops unifying frameworks and road-maps for IT and Business executives to create more value from IT and better deliver IT enabled innovation.

Director of Intel Labs Europe Dr Marin Curley is co-Director of the IVI. asked him a few questions about the work at the IVI.

What is the Innovation Value Institute (IVI) and why does it exist?

IVI is a consortium of leading industry, consulting, not-for-profit and academic organizations that has been quietly developing and testing new ways to more firmly align IT investments with IT results.  Originally formed through a strong link between NUI Maynooth and Intel, the consortium’s more than 30 members are among the world’s leading companies such as Chevron, Google, SAP, BP, Ernst & Young, and BCG.

A main issue CIOs face is trying to derive greater demonstrable business value from IT

A main issue CIOs face is trying to derive greater demonstrable business value from IT spend amid tighter IT budgets while wresting with many other demands such as complexity, security, capacity, agility and innovation. While today’s stark economic outlook makes optimizing IT’s value a top priority, there currently is no integrated, standardized framework for making and evaluating investment decisions strategically from a holistic perspective at the corporate level.

The IT-Capability Maturity Framework (IT-CMF)addresses this fundamental problem by providing an end-to-end integrated framework to help the CIO manage the complexities and tradeoffs required to continuously evolve the IT capability in an organization while delivering measurable value. The IT-CMF enhances the CIO’s role at boardroom level by transforming IT’s delivered results into tangible value that is understood and agreed upon by both business and IT.

Why did Intel take the decision to start the IVI?

Intel felt there was a gap in that there was no CIO level framework that covered the entire process footprint that the CIO needs to manage. Having worked with other IT executives who also saw the problem that CIOs were having to go it alone and after receiving guidance from the top analyst companies Intel decided to be the catalyst and the co-founder of the IVI.

We got great support from the National University of Ireland, Maynooth and particularly the President John Hughes, who as a former IT professional immediately recognized the problem and the potential to provide a solution. It was an expression of interest meeting to form the IVI which was held in summer 2006 which was attended by about 50 IT executives which gave the launch momentum to IVI.

On what grounds did you choose which partners to invite into your eco system that was to become the IVI?

We wanted the consortium to be sustainable from the outset and for the long term so we wanted to attract members from six different communities – the technology ecosystem, enterprise end-users, public sector end-users, analyst community, academia and the CIO and professional associations.

We wanted to attract members from six different communities

As part of validating the potential success of IVI we sought to attract either the number 1 or no. 2 player in each of these communities and were been delighted that by and large leading players such as Boston Consulting Group, Microsoft, SAP, E&Y, Chevron, BP, Gartner EXP and CEPIS joined.

A key characteristic of the organizations joining is that they have something to contribute and something to benefit from.  The unique open innovation approach that IVI uses means that we get a force multiplier effect, i.e. that we can achieve results faster, cheaper and with a better quality than any one organization can deliver on their own.

How do you manage the work at IVI from a strategic point of view?

The Governance of IVI has been carefully constructed with oversight and direction coming from a Board consisting of the Patron members and two members from the broader contributor community.

Quarterly board meetings set priorities and review progress.  The steering patrons of IVI, Intel, National University of Ireland Maynooth and Boston Consulting group work in advance of the board meetings to help set strategy for review by the board.

How is it carried out from a more operational perspective? Can you give us some examples?

The key working unit of IVI is the working group which normally consists of 5-7 industry executives and IT professionals as well as an academic. We have an integrated research plan and a common taxonomy for developing the research output. We use a research philosophy called Design Science which is about creating and validating artifacts that are useful for working executives and professionals.

For each critical process (described below) which produce a process definition, a maturity curve, assessment tools and an improvement roadmap. As these artifacts are deployed in real organizations we are building up the evidence of the value of using the tools.

… with a requirement that all tools are tested at 3-5 organizations before being released to the broader community

At every stage of development, the IT-CMF is tested in the real world with one of IVI’s partners, with a requirement that all tools are tested at 3-5 organizations before being released to the broader community. A Technical committee comprised of executives and professionals from the patrons and contributors acts as the quality control gate to ensure the tools developed are to the right level of quality and usability.

What are the focus areas of your research and why have you chosen these?

The IT-CMF consists of a five stage maturity model used to organize and structure a framework for mapping IT improvement efforts. The maturity levels consist of the following:

  1. Initial – no formal processes, ad-hoc
  2. Basic – delivering basic service or function
  3. Intermediate – intermediate level of process and outcome sophistication
  4. Advanced – delivering an advanced level of output
  5. Optimising – all critical processes are optimized

The holistic approach of the IT-CMF applies across four macro processes for each of the five stages. The processes consist of:

  1. Managing the IT Budget
  2. Managing the IT Capability
  3. Managing IT for Business Value
  4. Managing IT like a Business

Using this overall framework, CIOs can help their organizations transition from being perceived as a utility or technology supplier to a core competency of the firm that delivers and demonstrates optimized value from investments.

A key transition is to move IT from being reactive to proactive and ultimately to move IT to were it is understood as “Innovation Technology”

The IT-CMF is underpinned by thirty six critical processes which are the core building block processes and include processes such as enterprise architecture, technical infrastructure management, governance and innovation. The integrated nature of the IT-CMF attempts to cover all of the main processes that a CIO needs to manage.

The integrated nature of the IT-CMF attempts to cover all of the main processes that a CIO needs to manage

We talked to CIOs around the world to prioritize the first processes we worked on and invariably enterprise architecture was seen as a key problem. Other priority processes included benefits assessment and realization, innovation management and technical infrastructure management.

What, would you say, are the most important results that you get from your work at the IVI?

The most important results are that we are producing as artifacts which add value to working executives. A key measure of success is that the member executives feel they get value form the tools and continue to invest and adopt. After all innovation is not innovators innovating, it is customers adopting (Michael Schrage, MIT).

At Intel IT we have been systematically improving our IT capability year of year using the IT-CMF with improving value results

At Intel IT we have been systematically improving our IT capability year of year using the IT-CMF with improving value results. Other members such as BP, Chevron, Northrup Grumman report improving results in areas such as enterprise architecture and innovation management.

Do you think this model of working together could serve as a role model for other business sectors than your own i. e, the IT-sector?

The open innovation model that IVI uses has turned out to be very successful and could easily port to other business sectors. An important reason why the open innovation model has worked so well is that the consortium members are working on a problem which is pervasive in the industry and is bigger than any one company or university could solve on it’s own.

This brings about a generative behaviour and so called “social production” which the goals of the consortium transcending indidivual and even organizations goals. A key factor in the success so far is having an integrated research plan with a common vocabulary and taxonomy.

When it comes to research and development within Intel – what role and priority does the IVI have?

The IVI is the flagship open innovation activity in the Intel IT research and innovation portfolio.  Intel IT is naturally an active user of the outputs of IVI using the top level IT-CMF assessment as well as completing enterprise architecture, innovation management, technical infrastructure management and benefits assessment and realization assessments.

The IVI is the flagship open innovation activity in the Intel IT research and innovation portfolio

Both the CTO and successive CIOs have supported and spoken at IVI events.  We are exploring how Intel’s business development managers can systematically use the tools with Intel’s customer’s customers as we have an observed a second order effect in that as CIO’s get better at systematically managing IT they are spending more on IT and we hope that some of that increased spend can come to Intel.

About Martin Curley

Dr. Martin Curley Dr Martin Curley is the recently appointed Director of Intel Labs Europe whose mission is to advance Intel research and innovation in Europe while partnering to enable European competitiveness. Martin is also Senior Principal Engineer and Global Director of IT Innovation at Intel Corporation managing a network of IT Innovation centres catalyzing worldwide IT Innovation.

Previously Martin has held a number of senior IT Management positions for Intel and held management and research positions at General Electric and Philips. Martin has a degree in Electronic Engineering, a Masters in Business Studies from University College Dublin, Ireland, a PhD in Information Systems from the National University of Ireland, Maynooth and has been a visiting scholar at MIT.

Martin is author of “Managing Information Technology for Business Value” published by Intel Press, January 04, co-author of “Managing IT Innovation for Business Value” published in 2007 by Intel Press and co-author of “Knowledge Driven Entrepreneurship” to be published by Springer in Winter 2009.

Martin is Professor of Technology and Business Innovation at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth and co-Director of the Innovation Value Institute, helping lead a unique industry-academic open innovation consortium to advance IT management and innovation. Martin is a fellow of the Institution of Engineers of Ireland and the British Computer Society. He is a frequent international keynote speaker on Innovation and Technology.