An increasing number of corporates are creating Chief Innovation Officer (CINO) positions that can report to either Chief Marketing Officers, Heads of R&D, or directly to the President. These innovation leaders are not individually responsible for innovating, but instead are responsible for enabling innovation, encouraging it, inspiring it, facilitating it, and coordinating it; essentially an Innovation Enablement Leader.
This person’s job should be to lead not to manage, and to enable instead of control. It is a high priority for firms in virtually every industry to innovate, and companies are responding differently in how they organise to tackle the challenge. The tasks of whoever is in charge of maximizing the company’s innovation activities should involve both external and internal activities and programs to make their companies as innovative as they hope them to be.
Strategy behind the Play:
The core idea of the CINO is to support best practices, skill development, and new business unit initiatives. Acting as a methodology expert and facilitator, the CINO must train company personnel, direct seed funding, and ensure that there are organisation-wide platforms for idea generation.
“Innovation has nothing to do with technology – this is about people and behaviour.” -- Neal Cross, CINO at DBS Bank
Even businesses that are well versed in the best management practices can, without realising it, generate an environment hostile to innovation. It is a particular problem for a company’s frontline business units, whose business processes and performance metrics are optimized to relatively short-term goals that are anchored in what they are currently doing or selling rather than in what they could be doing differently. As a result, line managers instinctively reject innovations that won’t immediately contribute to their goals. Large companies need a CINO, a powerful executive who can counterbalance the natural killing instinct of a company’s business units and design a more innovation-friendly organizational environment.
Limitations & Risks:
Initiating the Play:
Launching this play requires a moderate initial capital outlay.
Key steps to initiate:
Running the Play:
The CINO’s key role is to constantly “bang the drum” for innovation, being responsible for identifying and proposing areas where technology, company structure and day-to-day practices can be combined and refined to drive a business towards its corporate goals.
Typical variations of this play include:
The Chief Innovation Officer must train company personnel, direct seed funding, and ensure that there are organisation-wide platforms for idea generation
Play in Action:
In 2016, Neal Cross, CIO of DBS Bank was recognised as the most disruptive Chief Innovation Officer globally. The judging panel recognised his “down-to-earth and practical approach in helping to roll out innovation across the bank” as an key factor to catalyse innovation.
Cross is spearheading one of DBS‘s largest internal projects, Iconic Journeys, an ongoing initiative which looks to fundamentally shift how customers interact with the bank. To do this, he is responsible for DBS‘s extensive innovation program, which saw the introduction of lean start-up methodologies and human-centred design. He also leads the DBS Innovation Group (DiG) which helps DBS employees embrace an innovative mindset by equipping them with the relevant training and tools.
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