Often the most visible differentiator between innovation and other business functions is the absence of a formal leader responsible for performance and results. Recent research shows that having a leader who is formally accountable for innovation can dramatically improve a company’s success rate. According to a 2012 Capgemini innovation leadership survey, 43 percent of large companies had such a position, while only 16 percent of those same companies had a formal organizational structure for managing innovation. Are these leaders follower-less?
While I’m not saying that all companies need someone with the title of Chief Innovation Officer, it is important that a single individual is accountable for results. The cross-functional nature of development and commercialization makes it difficult to manage at lower levels in the organization. It often takes someone in the C-suite reporting directly to the CEO to bring together all of the disparate parts of the organization required to deliver on the promise of innovation.
Establishing a leadership role that is accountable for innovation results sends a strong message to the organization – and to shareholders – that you are serious about driving growth from innovation. Show your investors that innovation means more to you than annual report rhetoric by treating innovation as its own business function with organizational accountability for results.