The Chief Innovation Officer (CIO, though not to be confused with “Chief Information Officer”) is a relatively new position in the marketplace created with the express goal of fostering innovation within a company.
Innovation, though, rarely happens through shear force of will and poor management is often the greatest obstacle to institutionalizing the kind of innovative and entrepreneurial practices that some leaders dream of. Alessandro Di Fiore, writing for Harvard Business Review, says that even well-managed companies inadvertantly create environments that are hostile to innovation:
This is precisely why large companies need a Chief Innovation Officer (CIO), a powerful executive who can counterbalance the natural killing instinct of a company’s business units and design a more innovation-friendly organizational environment.
Drawing on the results of our research at the European Center for Strategic Innovation, we have developed a framework that can help CIOs to see how successful they are in doing just that. We have identified seven key roles in the CIO’s mission:
- Supporting best practices
- Developing skills
- Supporting business units in new product and service initiatives
- Identifying new market spaces
- Helping people generate ideas
- Directing seed funding
- Designing shelter for promising projects