Why you should think like a Chief Innovation Officer

By Adam Blanch

A Chief Innovation Officer (CINO) gives recognition to the need for someone who stimulates and manages the process of innovation and growth. They're responsible for making sure that the business is abreast of new technology, encouraging of creativity, supporting of change and implement innovative ideas.

Sounds a bit out there, right? While not every company is big enough to appoint a CINO, every business needs someone who fulfils the role, for a few different reasons.

1. The speed of change

The internet and computers have dramatically altered the business landscape, and the rate of change is increasing. Sales, marketing, supply, administration, customer management and product development are all affected. Knowing what's happening, what it means for your business and what to do about it are essential. Many of the world's largest companies have found out the hard way that they weren't paying enough attention as they watched younger, more innovative rivals steal significant market share.

2. Change doesn't happen on its own

Most businesses go through a creative startup phase, a less creative establishment phase and then creativity goes into slow decline. In the natural sciences, this is called entropy, the tendency for moving objects to grind to a halt without the constant input of new energy. To avoid entropy, a business must generate new energy and new ideas. But traditional business models have the opposite effect, encouraging conformity and 'playing it safe'. If a business wants to grow and stay current, it must establish a culture of innovation, risk taking and a creative spirit.

3. There's always someone else trying to do it better

For every business, there are hundreds or thousands of individuals who want a piece of the action, and the best way to get it is to come up with a better product or service. They are out there right now thinking about how to replace you. The advantage that an established business has is the people who have the expertise to think about better ways to do it. A smart business utilises this natural creativity by encouraging and rewarding its people for innovative thinking.

Innovate or fade away. Is your business culture generating innovation, or preventing it?


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