Do you need a Chief Innovation Officer (CIO)?

Traditional business thinking which typically focuses on 3 to 5 year strategies created with sophisticated analytical processes and logical reasoning, may now be a little too “clunky” and take too long to arrive at critical decisions.

Today’s fast-emerging, often unpredictable environment calls for agile decision making to seize opportunities.  The rapid evolution of technology makes change more rapid.  We operate in a complex global playing field, with informed and discerning customers, a much higher degree of unpredictability and a need to focus on sustainability.

We are no longer dealing with customers in the traditional sense of the word (one on one)… we are dealing with community members who have the potential to influence an entire brand, with more and more discernment, while making value-driven choices.

We must move from a consumer value proposition to a community member value proposition.


Be Part of the Community

Businesses now need to design a community for customers – a community focused on building value based relationships and creating a sense of shared interests which builds loyalty and leads to sales – the reverse to how business has been done until now.  This is driven by social media.

The concept of sustainability is likely to become even more important to this discerning community of buyers.  A business strategy that has always been about making profits and doing so in insolation should now incorporate a more holistic view of sustainable value.  The concept of people, planet, profit measures the success of an organisation based on economic, ecological and social excellence.


Creativity and Innovation

The world’s top CEO’s predict that creativity will be the most important leadership skill in coming years.  A creative mindset is agile, flexible and open to new ideas – very relevant in the new economy.

It is time to re-think every aspect of your business and evolve constantly to keep ahead of the fast-changing environment of the new economy.  This evolving process is constant and continuous and requires a constant and consistent focus.  Innovation and creativity can no longer be a once a year focus at the annual planning day – it must be integrated in the way you do business day in day out.

In fact, it may be time to re-engineer the corporate organisational chart and include a Chief Innovation Officer (CIO) alongside the Chief Executive Office (CEO), the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and the Chief Operations Officer (COO).  The CIO will build a grapevine of communications where titles are irrelevant and innovation drives the agenda – it will be cross-divisional.

Innovation requires an element of chaos, trust in the creative process, a commitment to change and a focus on implementation that enables people to see concrete results.  Sustainable innovation is often the underlying cause where companies have undergone a successful reinvention of their brand.  Building an innovative mindset, which is part of the culture of your company will reap rewards as your team engages with your community, integrating technology to predict market changes.

Not only will you attract more customers, you will attract more employees with creative, innovative mindsets.  It will mean change, and it may feel unstructured as you work with the intangible part of your business… but it is time!

At Opening Gates our INNOVATION by DESIGN workshops address how to embrace innovation, how to be ahead of the pack, how to be even more successful.

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