Chief ? Officer

Who is responsible for innovation in your organization, and how do they ensure that it happens in the right way for your company?  Not surprisingly, the answers to these questions vary greatly.  Here are some of the most common answers I've encountered:

  • Everyone is responsible for innovation, because good ideas can come from anywhere, and people need to be empowered to bring them forward.
  • The Head of R&D, because we need to be developing new technologies that can drive our success in the future.
  • The Chief Innovation Officer, who is responsible for forging relationships with technology partners and developing new processes for the organization to integrate them.
  • The Head of New Product Development, because innovative ideas are embodied in new products and services.

Of course, there is no single right or wrong answer, as every company is different.  What is striking is that the main focus of these roles is on collecting new ideas and technologies.  I seldom hear of roles that are focused on determining the success criteria for new ideas and technologies beyond internal metrics.

Today I will leave you with a few questions that I'd like to explore further.  How many organizations drive innovation efforts based on success criteria that satisfies consumer goals?  By consumer goals, I mean understanding the motivations behind what your consumers do.  What needs does your product or service really satisfy?  What would provide a better solution and fit more consistently into the consumer's life? 

Finally, who is responsible for ensuring that your organization has the right answers to these questions?