I have written about the responsibilities of the Chief Innovation Officer over the past couple of months in a series of ten posts on this site. In summary, the role of the Chief Innovation Officer is to drive innovation capabilities across functions and geographies to deliver better business results. In my opinion the Chief Innovation Officer must be a member of the corporate executive team, preferably reporting to the CEO. The best people in this role lead small dedicated teams and are charged with the following set of cross-functional responsibilities (each of these bullet points links to the specific post with more detail about that responsibility):
- Improve and deliver business results from innovation
- Lead the measurement and analysis of innovation results
- Formulate and communicate innovation strategy
- Identify disruptive threats and opportunities based on trends
- Shape and manage the corporate innovation portfolio
- Cultivate and sponsor breakthrough innovation initiatives
- Evolve innovation business disciplines and competencies
- Create and nurture a culture conducive to innovation
- Develop innovation roles, talents, and career paths
- Define and monitor innovation metrics and measures
This is a big job. One that I wouldn't want unless I was chartered by the CEO and had the staff, funding and executive support necessary to tackle these responsibilities effectively. To be a legitimate Chief Innovation Officer you have to be able to sustain superior returns on you firm’s investment in innovation. In most large organizations this will require a transformation in the way products are developed, businesses are created, and innovation is delivered.
This is a big job.