I'm partner at Board of Innovation. We partner with the world’s largest organizations to solve their biggest challenges through meaningful innovation. I am passionate about Growth Strategy, Entrepreneurship & Business Model Innovation. Over the past years, I've advised executives in J&J, GE, Nestlé, Gsk, Roche, UHG, Philips, AB-Inbev,... in building successful growth strategies and launching new ventures.

Partner & Founder Board of Innovation US

Vincent Pirenne

Vincent Pirenne

Board of Innovation

Do companies need a Chief Innovation Officer?

No. Successful companies don’t need a Chief Innovation Officer to be innovative. The Wright Brothers and Hendry Ford didn’t have one, and it didn’t stop them from inventing the plane and the car. When we think of great innovations, we don’t think of Chief Innovation Officers. We think of passionate, creative, and stubborn entrepreneurs.
In 2021, innovation should be running through the veins of every company. Innovation is a necessary condition for growth and even for survival. Innovation is what will lead us out of the biggest crisis since World War II. Isn’t it contradictory to give just one man or one woman the Chief Innovation Officer title? Shouldn’t every employee be an innovation officer nowadays? And if every employee is an innovation officer, doesn’t that automatically make the CEO also the Chief Innovation Officer?
Face it, my first impulsive answer to this question is wishful thinking. Not every company is a buzzing breeding ground for innovation. Most companies are not. The Chief Innovation Officer is not indispensable, it’s not written in stone that every company should appoint one in order to stay innovative. But it would be a bridge too far to claim that the Chief Innovation Officer is obsolete [ … ]

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