Seventhman Blog

Chief Innovation Officer: The New CIO

"chief innovation officer"Chief Innovation Officer… you probably haven’t heard of this new job title.  You might be wondering if this is just another hype as companies desperately search for the ultimate alchemist that will bring about change, for the better.  The business realm is under a major transformation and stakeholders are taking a qualitative approach this 2014.  For this reason, the Chief Information Officer (CIO) no longer holds a limited function as technology-enabled innovation proliferate in the enterprise.  There is a need for new leadership in the corporate world as the C-suite struggles to find balance and sustain growth for their products and services in a dynamic, competitive market.

Should You Hire a Chief Innovation officer?

Call them the new ‘CIO’ or ‘CINO’ – this new breed of consultants are catalysts of change who have developed a well-rounded set of technical expertise, business cunning, excellent leadership and people skills all-rolled-into-one.  They are not merely growth hackers predicting the path to business success, but they are also stewards mentoring every business unit to make sure that the plan is implemented accordingly.  If you’re asking whether you should hire a CIO for your organization or not, you must be asking yourself how to find one instead.  The ability to continuously improve and innovate faster has never been easy.  Finding someone who can deliver impact to your business is like searching for the rarest of gems. You’ll need all the luck!

Innovation’s Best-Kept Secrets

Think of your Chief Innovation Officer as the final block to complete the 3D puzzle.  Just type the word ‘innovation’ on search engines and you’ll see lots of resources on ways to innovate.  Sometimes, you have to look beyond the usual way of things if you really want real change.  Thanks to technology, hiring someone outside your own comfort zone adds diversity to the organization.  Bringing in people from different culture and experiences may just open your mind to what you’ve been missing in the way you do business with your customers.  As Steve Jobs said, ‘Put a Dent in the Universe’.. and that may literally translate to having someone who may be the exact polar opposite of people working in your office.  Radical? Yes. Sometimes, you have to rock the boat a little, shift the balance of power to get from points A to B – faster.

What Questions You Should Be Asking Instead

As I mentioned from my last post that this year will be exciting as hybrid talents are on the rise, as the key decision maker, you should ask:

•    How can I gain a sustained competitive advantage in a saturated market?
•    Who can I trust to implement a successful innovation strategy from ground-level..up?
•    Who are insatiably passionate about what they do and are willing to push the limits to explore new ideas?
•    Who can collaborate with different departments and act as an ambassador of idea generation?
•    Who can successfully pilot your innovation road map to align with your business goals?
•    Who is realistic enough to allow room for growth while minimizing risks that come with failure?

Probably by now, you have the answer to this question which can only be summed up by a talented CINO.  The business world is facing major changes and the only way to become a game changer is to be as creative, as fearless and as realistic.  You’ve got to be unconventional this time or you may simply bring in someone who will relentlessly focus on how to grow your business for the long run.

“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” – Buckminster Fuller