Everyone involved in any kind of business knows that the lack of growth leads to the company’s losing position to competitors, which brings about fewer potential customers and possible profits. You can tackle the lack of growth in several ways – one is to strive for continuous improvement of the product, service, process or system offered (depending on the company’s profile). That’s exactly the role of the Chief Innovation Officer (CIO) also known as Innovation Director or Innovation Manager. Today, we’ll outline its main features, daily activities as well as job scope, and we’ll explain why change is so important for modern organizations.

The role of a chief innovation officer in a company – table of contents:

  1. Business innovation – in a nutshell
  2. Chief Innovation Officer – job description
  3. Key responsibilities of Chief Innovation Officer
  4. Chief Innovation Officer – desired traits
  5. Summary

Business innovation – in a nutshell

Innovation covers a variety of areas making it hard to point out its unambiguous definition – it is usual to explain the meaning of the word, taking into account various types of criteria, such as object-oriented (the area concerned), the scale of change, or the degree of complexity.

However, we should stress that in the case of business, its implementation will always aim at improving the company externally and internally. What’s more, we must understand that this type of change may concern various aspects of daily operations – taking various shapes and forms, such as product or service improvements (especially in the application of new technology), tasks for the marketing department, or existing sales markets, applying motivational techniques towards employees or changes in the organizational structure of the company.

Chief Innovation Officer – job description

The main task is to introduce an innovation in the company that will render the expected results – depending on the needs, this could include more product sales, shorter manufacturing cycles, improving the efficiency of teams or reaching new groups of customers. Thus, the Chief Innovation Officer is responsible for seeking opportunities to apply technology in a way that is consistent with the company’s needs and business plans while taking care of the human factor (the people responsible for implementing the proposed changes).

Thus, due to the nature of such a position, the Chief Innovation Officer may work with several different teams within the company, influencing virtually every aspect of day-to-day operations depending on the area in which change is needed.

chief innovation officer

Key responsibilities of Chief Innovation Officer

In their daily work, the Chief Innovation Officers focus on finding new opportunities to carry out transformations in the company to ensure faster growth. In practice, it means conducting research in many departments and on its basis, suggesting the implementation of changes (determining the goal, the effects to achieve through these activities, the timetable for carrying them out, etc,). At the same time, they have to constantly keep to the tenants described in the company’s long-term business strategy.

Once the designed plans get approved, the CIO is also responsible for ensuring that they are implemented in the right way and then, for evaluating to determine whether they had the intended effects. Based on the conclusions received, carrying out further studying belongs to yet another responsibility of a person holding this position.

Chief Innovation Officer – desired traits

A Chief Innovation Officer should first of all have many years of business experience, thanks to having a perfect grasp of the company’s processes and development plans for the future (strategic thinking). However, there are come also sales and marketing knowledge that is necessary for the changes to bring the expected results (both internally, e.g. in cost reduction, and externally, e.g. in the area of employer branding). At the same time, the CIO must possess highly developed interpersonal skills, which enable effective work with teams in different departments of the company. Another desired trait is the ability to react quickly to changes by demonstrating flexibility and knowledge of methods to introduce them into the business world.


If you want to ensure that changes are a permanent part of your company’s organizational culture, hire a Chief Innovation Officer. You will surely notice the positive benefits of the actions taken – especially in terms of attracting new clients or customers, but also employees (especially those with above-average skills). This is because only by improving and creating a new offer a company can maintain its position in the market, achieve the highest possible organizational efficiency and compete with other entities offering the same product/service or satisfying the same needs. Therefore, every entrepreneur who cares about the development of their business should adopt such a strategy.

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Author: Nicole Mankin

HR manager with an excellent ability to build a positive atmosphere and create a valuable environment for employees. She loves to see the potential of talented people and mobilize them to develop.