Does Enterprise Architecture stifle innovation?

18 March 2009

Many stakeholders see Enterprise Architecture teams as overly bureaucratic ivory towers. They think that too much bureaucracy prevents innovation.  I agree that the balance between bureaucracy and innovation is important, but innovation is and essential part of what enterprise architecture is aiming for.

Innovation is very important when developing a future state enterprise architecture model, and trying to realise the organisations’ strategic requirements.

Too much focus on developing a 100% complete current state enterprise architecture model can seem like bureaucracy to many stakeholders and can be seem to be to formulaic in their support of dreaming up strategies. 

Innovation thrives on creativity, but it also seems to me that innovation can be stimulated by examining the gaps and lack or relationships between things, which is where analysis of the current state enterprise architecture model is valuable. 

If you don’t know where you are coming from then how can you dream about where you want to get to?

Digressing for a moment, I have often found system dynamics modelling (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/System_dynamics ) of the cause and effect relationships between objects (causal loop diagrams, stock and flow diagrams), popularised by Peter Senge’s The Fifth Discipline book ( http://tinyurl.com/dmghbb ), to be a useful approach for analysing how a system works. iThink is a nice tool for doing this sort of modelling. 

It would be nice to see such approaches being integrated within the Enterprise Architecture discipline and provided by EA tool vendors.

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One Response to “Does Enterprise Architecture stifle innovation?”


  1. […] Does Enterprise Architecture Stifle Innovation by Adrian Campbell […]


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