A chief innovation officer is essentially a top-level person in a corporation who is fundamentally responsible for managing the entire process of innovation and growth in an organization, and is often in some ways the same as being the person who ‘invented’ new ideas but is also aware of other people’s innovative ideas. A CIO has the vision and leadership to drive the innovation effort within a company.
Typically, a CIO will have outstanding leadership skills, technical know-how on many different technological areas, and a vast pool of creativity to bounce ideas off of. In addition, the CIO must be highly skilled in public speaking, strategic thinking, and decision making – especially when a board of directors or other senior managers are reviewing an innovative idea or new product that could be commercialized.
As with all top-level jobs, being a chief innovation officer like Josh Team requires that you have immense interpersonal skills, as well as an ability to communicate effectively across different business lines, genres, and platforms. You must also have great writing and communications skills. Often, chief innovation officers, or CIOs, will spend significant time writing the company’s vision and mission statement.
You should be comfortable communicating ideas, theories, and concepts clearly and effectively through print, webinars, presentations, newsletters, and interviews, and by regular teleseminars and podcasts. You should also enjoy giving oral presentations and speeches on a regular basis and should be able to work well with others in the organization.
Because the job of a chief innovation officer is heavily focused on business opportunities in innovative industries, it is not uncommon for an individual to hold multiple titles throughout their career, instead of just being the full-time director of a single department or unit. For example, you may serve as a vice president of marketing for a large corporation, manage a division of advertising in another department, and oversee sales and service at a third department.
Depending upon the nature of the business opportunities that an individual finds themselves pursuing, they may choose to hold more than one title. A number of different industry verticals are ripe for being targeted by a chief innovation officer, including innovative manufacturing, consumer packaged goods, energy and utilities, and financial and EIR processes.
In order to make sure that your organization is on the cutting edge of new ideas, it is vital that you are familiar with all the current trends in technology and industry activities. The chief innovation officer will be in the unique position of being responsible for cultivating future innovations within the company, in collaboration with executives and marketers, in response to customer demands, and based upon the information that the company gathers through various forms of research and analysis.
A strong understanding of the current market climate is fundamental to being a successful chief innovation officer. You must be aware of the competition in your industry, what customers demand, how they consume, and how the marketplace will affect products and services in light of these new demands.