Do You Have An Innovation Officer? Time To Check

by CXOtoday News Desk    Nov 28, 2014


In a technology-driven age, change is the only constant for businesses to stay afloat. Organizations are seeking transformational ideas that drive their business goals. But as has been the human tendency, any new idea is often dealt with apprehension and an element of rejection. 

In a recent study by PwC and Corporate Executive Board, 61% of CEO said that innovation is a priority, and 75% of executives are concerned with not having enough ideas. 

Every company will be keen on implementing disruptive innovation that would give it a competitive edge over its rivals, but driving it requires an effort. Hence the companies see the need to have a Chief Innovation Officer (CINO), whose responsibility includes identifying areas for innovation and ensuring ideas are turned into fruitful actions. 

A recent Capgemini survey showed that 43% of large companies have a formally accountable innovation executive in place, up from 33% in 2011.  

But that is not an indication of the right approach. “Although there are signs of an increased formalization of the innovation function, such as the increase in the percentage of respondents that have a formally accountable innovation executive, the levers for the formal management of innovation are largely being overlooked or underdeveloped,” says Koen Klokgieters, Global Leader R&D and Business Innovation, Capgemini Consulting.

Fundamental duties of a CINO include encouraging open innovation and creative thinking in the organization. That apart, they must draw short-term and long-term plans, based on the benefits of innovation.

After doing a research, Harvard Business Review has arrived at seven key roles for CINOs.

1. Supporting best practices based in market research.

2. Developing required skills

3. Don the role of a methodology expert to support business units in new initiatives

4. Analyze market trends and identify new spaces

5. Helping employees generate new ideas by organizing jam sessions or hackathons

6. Directing seed funding

7. Design resource allocation processes  

Organizations increasingly believe in fostering a culture for innovation, thereby realising the need for devising strategies for  innovation leadership.

Jude Umeh writes on a Capgemini blog that connecting people and ideas contributes to an organization’s innovation quotient. 

There are several aspects to success of an innovation.  To drive ahead innovation, the innovation officer needs to be innovative in the first instance. What makes innovations easier is communication of ideas and the need for people to stay ahead of time.

According to a report by American Medical Colleges 2013, Naomi Fried, chief innovation officer at Boston Children’s Hospital, has developed a “lifecycle for innovation” to break down tasks. She identifies the “O-gap” as the toughest crossing point, between piloting and full operationalization of an innovation.

The tactics vary according to businesses, but the underlining success lies is creating an organizational mindset on accepting change.

“There is no one size fits all approach when it comes to organizational design for innovation, but the correlation between having formalized innovation governance in place and the reported innovation success rate suggests that there is much to gain by improving the formal mechanisms for managing innovation,” said Koen Klokgieters of Capgemini Consulting.