I find the idea of innovation to be interesting, and I'm primarily a developer, and I love to innovate and find new ways of performing some task. But generally, technology innovates to solve a requirement, not to simply invent something new (other than toys).
In most companies I've worked at I've never seen innovation be the primary driver of the technology department. (checks some NDAs) An example that everyone should know and love is Intel. Intel is an invention company that innovates the newest chips that technology uses. They solve particular issues in their R&D department. I'd like to add some of those people are amazing folks, I got the opportunity to interact with a few of them regularly on smoke breaks. However, there's something to keep in mind... Intel is primarily a chemical plant. Technology supports *that* innovation.
Technology itself is nothing more than a tool for most companies. Some companies which build tools for technology (Microsoft, Adobe, Oracle, Cisko, etc) do innovate their tools for technology to use in their solutions, but the rest of us really don't innovate much. We use and apply to support the process of the business itself.
Innovation usually doesn't belong in the tech department for most businesses, as technology isn't really their business. They need to bring the tools together for the business to run more effeciently. I like a neat puzzle as much as the next person, and sometimes bringing these tools together in different ways, or unexpected usage of an existing tool (such as I occassionally do with SQL Server) are neat, but they're very rare in my experience.
- Craig Farrell
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