The Chief Innovation Officer is more important than ever for the success of companies, with demand expected to rise further in the coming years. We look at the definition of the CIO, and why they are the key player in business innovation management today.
What is a CIO?
Sometimes abbreviated to CINO, the term Chief Innovation Officer was first coined in 1998. It describes the person in an organisation whose main responsibility is driving and managing innovation within a company. Similar to the director of innovation, or innovation manager, it is a role that requires the traditional skills of a leader and the ability to apply them to the fast-paced world of innovation.
What does a CIO do, exactly?
The role of the CIO involves managing the innovation framework within an organisation, identifying strategies, new technologies and business opportunities. They must also ensure that the innovation process itself is efficient, transparent, and effective. Whether it’s coming up with new ideas, or recognising and developing the ideas of others – and so fostering a culture of innovation –, the CIO is the driving force behind the company’s innovation management process to ensure the best innovative ideas come to fruition.
What are the key traits of an effective CIO?
Leadership, people skills, technological awareness and a business mind are a demanding combination, but one that best defines a strong innovation executive. Prominent innovation adviser Phil McKinney has pinpointed five key traits that any successful CIO should possess:
- High credibility factor and good track record;
- The ability to see and communicate the future;
- The ability to drive ideas and action around his or her vision;
- The ability to identify and disarm the innovation antibodies;
- The ability to build and bridge connections.
Why this sudden demand for CIOs?
With one in five executives identifying innovation as their top priority, companies today are fighting to stay ahead of the innovation curve. Competition to innovate better, and faster, in an ever-changing business world is fierce. To do that, organisations need a leader to help drive and direct innovation within the organisation, resulting in the development of the Chief Innovation Officer.