The role of an innovation manager is diverse. It cannot be described in one single job description. Instead, it is defined by the skills needed to embrace disruption and invoke change.
Innovation managers may be referred to by various titles. These can include:
- Chief Innovation Officer
- Head of Innovation
- Innovation Portfolio Manager
Common Challenges Innovation Managers Face
Some innovation manager roles are executive or director positions with more administrative responsibilities. Still, the core objectives remain: take new ideas and cultivate them into outcomes that change lives for the better.
Innovation managers help create a culture for innovation. They are instrumental in shaping the processes needed for forwarding movement in their organizations. Technology is a major part of innovation. A recent study revealed that business functions are built around the digital revolution.
Becoming an innovation manager requires certain skills that are key to achieving success. Here are five skillsets that are essential for working in this role.
Understand the Business
Innovation managers should have a clear understanding of how the business works. Knowing the practicalities of day-to-day operations as well as the technology needed to function are crucial to implementing new ideas. It makes navigating challenging situations easier.
Innovation managers must also be good at managing projects. The ability to juggle several at once enables change to occur across different areas of an organization.
This calls for excellent communication and planning skills. Innovation managers are required to plan projects according to the expectations of major stakeholders. They keep everyone informed of progress and challenges along the way.
Create a Clear Vision
Innovation managers must be able to create a clear vision and innovation strategy within an organization. This requires valuable insight into future trends, needed technologies, and analytical thinking. Employees will use this vision when performing daily tasks.
Innovation leaders should also excel at putting together the right teams. They should be open to new ideas and listen to input. This requires great attention to detail and responsibility for leadership. Additionally, innovation managers should also support and challenge individuals as they work to innovate.
Breaking boundaries is what innovation is all about. When the right vision is in place, employees will understand the value of contributing new ideas while feeling a part of the overall mission.
Focus On Results
Innovation managers need to focus on results. They need to be resourceful and understand how to connect other individuals to this way of thinking.
In addition, they need to be willing to shift ways of doing things as needed. If an idea does not work, they find another that does.
Innovation managers are not specialists in one area. Instead, they think across diverse platforms to form multiple strategies.
They possess a wide range of capabilities and invest in learning in ways that keep projects moving forward. They know how to seek out individuals with the right talent and skills to make things happen.
Innovation helps companies remain relevant. Since 2000, 52% of Fortune 500 companies were either bought out or no longer exist. Organizations that innovate will continue evolving when led by innovation managers who possess the skills needed to succeed.
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