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March 04, 2008


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James Todhunter

Ownership of innovation is very important. There is a single owner that must take responsibility for innovation. This person must have responsibility for setting and achieving corporate goals. This person must imprint the corporate culture with the value building importance of innovation. This person must allocate the resources to support innovation and build innovation competence as a sustainable driver of corporate value. This person is the CEO. The CEO can always elect to delegate authority to drive innovation, but woe unto the CEO that chooses to delegate responsibility.


Jim, I like your position on this. Perhaps I need to clarify better between: who owns "innova...TION" versus who owns "innova...TING." Big difference in my mind. Too often, I see where the innovation owner/champion also gets the "innova...TING" role (and the resources that go with it) to the exclusion of the rest of the organization. This is dysfunctional. Others shy away from innovation initiatives and opportunities (such as Goldfire, TRIZ, and SIT) for fear of rocking the boat.

In the ideal, I agree the CEO should own innovation. That is a model of success. There is an excellent paper from the Marketing Science Institute (www.msi.org) on this titled, "How Much Do CEOs Matter to Innovation?" You should be able to order it directly from MSI. If not, let me know and I will get one for you.

Thanks for insight, Jim.

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