The CINO’s Team #1 – Portfolio Analyst

The responsibilities of a corporate Chief Innovation Officer in a large, established enterprise are far too great to realistically be handled by one person, no matter what super hero powers they may possess. Over the next few weeks I am going to write about the roles that I believe are critical to the success of any effort to transform the innovation performance of an organization.

As a newly appointed Chief Innovation Officer, the first person that I would bring onto my team is a portfolio analyst. While there are likely a thousand things to do all at once, I believe that characterizing the existing innovation pipeline must be the immediate priority. There are at least two reasons why you would want to start here.

First, we need to know what we have today in order to inform any strategy formulation exercise that will articulate where we want to go in the future. Collecting portfolio data, analyzing the current pipeline, and characterizing the allocation of investment in innovation is the first step in building a case for change. This step rarely fails to produce “palm to the forehead” moments among top executives.

Second, shaping the innovation portfolio to increase aggregate value and improve mix and balance is something that should be done early in a Chief Innovation Officer’s tenure. Because of the time typically required to bring an idea through development and into market, we need to get some big ideas moving fast.

If we assume that the CINO plays the role of the corporate innovation portfolio manager, a good analyst that can work with business units to regularly collect, normalize, collate and characterize the portfolio is a must have member of the team.