Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Dawn Of The Idea Czar - Following the discussions we have had in the Imaginatik Research office around recruiting and attrition rates within innovation teams (see Mark Turrell's blog on the subject http://innovationbbl.blogspot.com/) I read this article with particular interest. This builds on some of these discussions and looks at the particular need of companies to appoint a CIO (where the 'I' stands for innovation) to drive the

"thirst for internal growth across Corporate America that has made innovation a critical management mandate".

Interestingly, the appointment of a CIO is one of the critical ingredients that we have also identified at Imaginatik Research for company's and CEOs wishing to be successful at innovation.

These CIO's or Idea Czars are appearing in a variety of companies including AMD, Citigroup, Coca-Cola, Humana to name but a few. In addition, it has been observed that these posts have increased four-fold in the last three years. Interestingly the qualities these new CIOs have are quite varied and include "a diverse experience, gregarious personality and a penchant for disrupting traditional ways of thinking". Furthermore, they seem to require a blend of different skills to become a CIO. For example AMD's Billy Edwards is seen as part marketer, technologist, strategist and business person.

The importance of applying innovation across more than one dimension within a company is not lost on the CIO as they look to encompass many aspects including new products, new business models, customer insights and shaping a more creative culture. This is such a critical point (this was discussed in the recent Quarterly edition of the Corporate Innovation Newsletter) for any innovation program - you need to look at all of innovation dimensions, "The most powerful [innovations] cross a lot of boundaries".

And the rewards for these new CIOs? Candidates are drawn by the high visibility of the position and the rewards that could accompany success. This isn't innovation for innovation sake; this is making new things happen that adds value to companies through a new, dynamic and exciting role that comes with the opportunity to really make a visible difference in the corporate world.

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