"Sometimes I feel like I'm stepping on other people's toes," he says. "Making sure that we can facilitate great cooperation between IT and the business can sometimes be a challenge." That's especially true when other departments come up with innovative projects on their own and Prusnick has to intervene to make corrections or stop the project until the innovation team determines if it's really needed.
"At the end of the day, everybody is looking for the best experience possible for our guests and [employees]," he says. "We all have the same goal. It's just a case of who gets to run it and be the project manager." In fact, all employees are trained in "Hyatt Thinking," meaning they're encouraged to come up with ways to improve existing solutions. "We're trying to introduce this culture of innovation," he adds. "That's everybody's job."
Partners = Speed to Market
The biggest banks are continually developing new services and payment applications. Speed to market and unique offerings are required to stay ahead of the pack.
At Capital One, Monique Shivanandan, senior vice president and CTO, relies on a new innovation lab team and trusted partners in the startup and university realms to bring new ideas to market fast.
In 2010, Shivanandan launched the Capital One innovation lab and staffed it with 20 "hard-core developers and product managers" in San Francisco and Washington. She then partnered with the FinTech Innovation Lab, a development organization that brings together New York area startups focused on banking applications, to tap into ideas and expertise from the outside. So far, the partnership is credited for new offerings such as Capital One's Mobile Deals app.
"It's been an incredible opportunity for both of us," says Shivanandan. "We've been able to get into the marketplace a little bit quicker because we have these relationships, and we've been able to help some very small companies really advance their agendas and frame the product or service so they're more realistic and more marketable."
She also partners with research groups at MIT, Georgia Tech and Stanford.
IT Management Challenges
Shaking Things Up
It's easy to create a technology wish list, but the devil is in the details, which could explain why some IT workers aren't enthused by innovation projects.
"The challenge for IT people is that we come traditionally from a lens of 'command and control,'" says John Prusnick, director of IT innovation and strategy at Hyatt Hotels and Resorts. "We want to have things standardized, lock them down and make sure they work. We want consistency in delivery, and we don't want to have changes introduced that will cause us grief down the road."