The Fundamental Shortcoming With How We View Innovation

David Dabscheck on “Why we should all be Chief Innovation Officers at work” at FastCompany:  “Do you think CINO’s will be around in five years?” asked a fellow attendee at Innovation Enterprise’s recent Chief Innovation Officer Summit in New York.
It was a hard question to answer, particularly because I had no idea what a “CINO” was.
Even though I am literally a card-carrying member of the new religion of innovation, I hadn’t realized our high priests secured their own coveted C-suite acronym—CINOs for Chief INnovation Officer. Certainly this signals a function on the rise and was reinforced by the variety of industries represented over the two-day conference, including conservative ones that are more commonly associated with regulation than innovation, such as banking and healthcare. Indeed, Dr. Molly Coye, Chief Innovation Officer at UCLA Health, described how when she started in 2010 there were perhaps two or three similar positions, whereas today there are conferences purely for healthcare CINOs….
As even with vigorous C-suite support, innovation is often a misunderstood and misused concept because it presents psychological, as well as organizational challenges. The devil is not just in the details with innovation; he is dozing in our brains while simultaneously flipping off managers agonizing over their P&L statements.
What we need are conferences where people with “innovation” anywhere in their title cannot attend; where what is new is not the content, but those hearing it; where attendees learn that if innovation is what those people do “over there” it will never succeed “right here.” That is not to say those working in innovation do not also need more rigor within their approaches and genuinely appreciate why this word too often becomes a synonym for “expensive diversion.”
To return to the original question, the longevity of CINOs depends ironically on how effectively they make themselves redundant. They will succeed by helping employees view themselves as “innovative” exactly like they see themselves as “punctual” or “enthusiastic.” I am looking forward to the CINO conference where I am instead asked, “Do you think CINO’s will be around in five years, as aren’t we all one already?”…(More).