frank's blog

Key Insights From One of America’s First Chief Innovation Officers

Posted in innovation, quality, your take on... by aldorf on May 4, 2011

Amy Radin became one of America’s first Chief Innovation Officers when Citigroup appointed her to the role in 2005. She is currently Chief Innovation officer at E*E*Trade Financial, the leading online discount stock brokerage. (via innovationmanagement.se)

A tangible corporate structure is becoming less necessary for delivering goods and services to consumers, so there’s more pressure on established businesses to embrace technology.


The key to success is to fail fast and fail cheap; harvest the learnings and move on.


Innovation is not a one-year return on investment, or time…. you should probably take a 24-36 month view.


Main steps managers would need to take to adopt Ami Radin’s VC-type innovation approach:

  • Establish a pipeline or portfolio of bets approach.
  • Focus on understanding potential market/universe size and unit-level business model/economics, not a full P&L statement early on.
  • Make the effort to uncover real market needs within the universe of people whom you would like to serve, and stay relentlessly focused on delivering them.
  • Engage all functions in the organization as early on as possible. People want to be included, and helping them see what is going on along the way is invaluable.
  • Don’t automatically apply traditional business process to innovation – it needs to be faster, more iterative, and is inherently different than how companies may approach running a well-oiled machine.
  • Don’t underestimate the criticality of leadership and culture. These will make or break your success. This includes fully-engaging the CEO in your innovation efforts.

Key characteristics of good people in the innovation space:

  • Left brain/right brain thinkers
  • Bias for execution and getting things done
  • The wiring of a start up employee combined with a healthy respect for the benefits of being in an established company (brand, resources, talent, expertise, franchise)
  • Leadership ability, which includes influence, communications, teamwork, collaboration
  • Ability to embrace ambiguity and not get flustered by it
Read full story at innovationmanagement.se


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