Goooooooooooooooooooood day folks!

You can fund innovation management all you want, but that alone might not be enough to achieve tangible results. Let’s look at your innovation program in basketball terms: whereas an innovation center with dedicated innovation managers make it a two-pointer, having a Chief Innovation Officer (CInO) will make it a three-pointer, and ultimately enable better and faster business value.

Innovation is a companywide program that brings together an array of internal and external stakeholders to continuously collaborate on identifying and developing the best ideas that are strategically aligned with company objectives. As such, innovation affects every facet of the business, from R&D to IT, to finance and operations, to name a few. And, in the same way that a CTO, CIO and CFO oversee their respective affairs, a CInO oversees companywide activities related to innovation. After all, you wouldn’t delegate all financial operations exclusively to a ‘finance center’ with dedicated financial managers, would you? So why do the same for innovation?

A basketball team, for example, can make major investments in a dazzling stadium decked out with jumbotrons, glitzy hoops and a shiny court, but what does that change in the team’s potential to succeed if it doesn’t have a seasoned coach at the helm? It’s up to the coach, not the players, to call the shots once the ball is in play, just like it’s up to the CInO, not the employees, to embed innovation-related roles, processes and objectives into the company core. So, let’s look at a few things the Chief Innovation Officer needs to do to achieve these results:

  • Extension of the CEO: The CInO needs to be on the same level as the company’s most senior leaders, and being an extension of the CEO means the CInO must be able to exert the necessary power that enables disruptive innovation.
  • Communicating a clear vision: The CInO needs to be the company’s chief marketing officer of innovation, and in so doing must continuously communicate a clear, unifying innovation vision and values that sustain trust in innovation management throughout the organization.
  • Embedding innovation: The CInO needs to ensure that innovation management is embedded in the company’s process framework by providing an end-to-end innovation management platform capable of supporting companywide solutions for all innovation phases across all innovation activities, such as targeting, ideation, incubation, business planning and commercialization.
  • Extensive knowledge of agile: The CInO needs to have extensive knowledge of agile methods, as Agile’s core values and principles are rooted adapting and responding to change with greater efficiency, ultimately allowing the CInO to ensure innovators’ continuous progress by troubleshooting highly complex challenges.
  • Socializing emerging technologies: The CInO needs to inspire the adoption and use of emerging technologies so the company can stay ahead of the competition.

To make your innovation program a slam dunk success, it’s important to grant your Chief Innovation Officer with the right level of influence; in the same way that a coach is an extension of team management, the CInO is an extension of the CEO’s arm, responsible for driving and orchestrating all innovation activities that ensure sustainable innovation across the enterprise, and that company investments in innovation ultimately pay off.

Til next time folks!