We've all been hearing about how the big 3 automakers are coming with "hat in hand" to Washington to get their hands on $25 billion to help them survive. There are many opinions out there about this and I'm not going to share everything I think about this, but I will share my thoughts around innovation as it pertains to GM.
Here is a company that hasn't really been in innovation-mode for over 30+ years from a product perspective, but they are innovative on the IT front. CIO Ralph Szygenda, is a very innovative person and a highly respected IT professional and he is, unfortunately, damned by association. The company continues to lose billions a quarter because of an outdated business model and a lack of cost control. One of the shining jewels within this behemoth in my opinion is Mr Szygenda's innovative ISS organization. I have a few friends still inside this organization and they tell me that GM's Information Systems and Services division does all it can to help the automaker cut costs and improve market responsiveness, but they can only do so much with very little.
I feel for all the ISS folks inside GM and I applaud your efforts to innovate and help the company attempt to turn the corner to profitablity again. Unfortunately, you are damned by association just like your great CIO. I hope that things work out, but more importantly I hope that you all get a whole new management team (while keeping Mr Szygenda) and really be the powerhouse I know that you can be.
I'm not familiar with Ford and Chrsyler, but I can only speculate that they are trying valiantly to do the same as the GM ISS organization. It's just too bad that it will probably come down to these three once great companies will have to go the way of Chapter 11 to get rid of management, those expensive union agreements, outdated business model, and get back to their innovative and visionary selves.
Good luck to all the IT folks inside these companies (Ford, GM, Chrysler). I can't speak for everyone in the IT world, but I can tell you that I am thinking about you all and I wish you all the best no matter what happens.