The First 100 Days

I hope it is not obvious to you that I am running behind on my writing. This post should have come out a couple of weeks ago when I first read an article on the Harvard Business Review website titled, “The Chief Innovation Officer’s 100-Day Plan” by Scott Anthony and Robyn Bolton of Innosight. Since I am in the middle of developing a book for innovation executives that are newly assigned to their role, this seemed like something I should read.

The article lays out wise counsel for a newly appointed Chief Innovation Officer. This is a role that their Innosight colleague, Clayton Christensen, said he would not take in “a million years.” I would distill their advice on how to spend your first 100 days down to three areas:

1.       Spend quality time with other business executives from the organization to identify inconsistencies in strategies, expectations, incentives and actual behavior. This will tell you where you are going to have challenges and allow you to “zero in on the most critical organizational roadblocks.”

2.       Quickly make moves to shape the innovation portfolio with an eye toward balance between short and long term initiatives. If it is all short-term you are unnecessary. If it is all long-term, you are doing you successor a favor because you’ll probably get fired before they are launched.

3.       Invest in new capabilities in parallel with investing in specific innovation initiatives. Rapid piloting and prototyping of concepts is one capability that the authors highlight as being particularly beneficial. I like good portfolio management disciplines as an early capability as well.

The article is worth the five minutes it will take to read and may remind you to add something important to your to-do list for the next week. As a new Chief Innovation Officer you will have lots of scrutiny applied to you. You must have a plan to survive those crucial first 100 days.