Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Better have a Non-Innovative Chief Innovation Officer

You read it right. There is more to an innovation officer than innovation.

MUST have

1.    Foremost; something which you cannot learn by practice, it’s something inbuilt, don’t tick this off too quickly - Ability to smile at failure, wholeheartedly.

2.    Either an expert technologist with a keen interest in Business, or the other way round - Basically a Master of None. Because if you are one; then there is not only a possibility of a bias, but also a risk of not knowing what you don’t know!

3.    Collaboration is an overused word and so is Innovation, but you must bring these words together to collaborate to innovate. You need to be - A messenger, between all the Grey assets of your enterprise - especially the ones which are not labeled as Grey; and the Business of your enterprise. You will also enable engagements at top management level, both within and outside enterprise for decisions related to innovation.

4.    You are happy only when you have added building blocks to your company’s sales growth, however small, but definitely repeatedly. You have an Ability to get bored with status quo!.

GOOD to have

1.    This is another one which you cannot learn but only experience. Diversity in your thoughts blooms when you have often had lunch outside of your country and culture.

2.    ‘What if’ mindset, not necessarily of a chess player, but of a curious one, who might just window shop..

Must NOT

1.    The deadliest mistake is to have chief innovation officer as a mere ornamental position. When it is, the innovation agenda goes on for years w/o any positive impact on the organization and no one even notices it.


  1. Srinivasan SankaranarayananJune 8, 2011 at 6:27 PM

    A very interesting post about a much hyped position!

    Srinivasan S

  2. Nice blog, but the headline is distinctly wrong... nowhere in the blog does it say that the Chief Innovation Officer does not innovate...??!!

  3. Hi Jacob, Thanks for your appreciation. I clarify the blog heading in the first line itself "You read it right. There is more to an innovation officer than innovation.". I am sure chief innovation officer innovate too, and I am not claiming they don't. But given what it take for a Chief innovation officer to be successful, having a non-innovative officer is okay, and the blog talks about 'what it takes'. Hope you agree!

  4. Nice story, and as an innovation officer you need to guide the innovation but not innovate your self. Innovation is not just the technical research but more getting the right capacity within organisation to make the innovation a success.

  5. Interesting ideas... I have a feeling I may 'riff' on this in my next blog on 'Capital I' Innovation.