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How Do I Become a Chief Innovation Officer?

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  • Written By: N. Kalu
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 25 August 2014
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To become a chief innovation officer, you should have an abiding interest in and a capacity for testing out new product ideas that might have a high rate of failure. The position of chief innovation officer has increased in popularity in recent years and requires people have both product management and executive experience, especially in the digital media and online content fields. You should obtain a bachelor's degree if you aspire to become a chief innovation officer. A Masters of Business Administration (MBA) degree might also come in handy for salary negotiation and career advancement.

The goal of an innovation officer is to find hidden opportunities for new business models, services, or products that a company can promote. Nearly every large company needs an executive who can act on ideas quickly, test new ideas, and provide data to support an emerging business direction or to drop a failed idea. As someone who wants to become a chief innovation officer, you should begin thinking about different methodologies for how you would go about testing new products for companies in your industry.

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If a test product succeeds, it will be your job to implement it. Part of the chief innovation officer's duties is to persuade other executives that a new product can bring in revenue for the company. By using testing data, analysis, and sharp insights, the innovation executive and his or her team are able to show how a new product or service might perform on the market. Given this fact, to become a chief innovation officer you will also need to develop solid product management skills so that you will know exactly how to bring a product from the idea stage to the final product stage.

There is no specific university major or MBA concentration that you should pursue to fulfill chief innovation officer requirements. As long as you engage in creative problem solving endeavors during your time in college, business school, or early career, you should be on track to have the flexibility of imagination required of a innovation executive. Getting yourself involved in leadership roles, such as launching a small business or organizing a networking group, will also give you experience in managing a team and overseeing an important new operation.

Other than these skills, exercising your creative abilities should be a top priority for you. Brainstorming entrepreneurial projects, thinking up interesting names for products, or devising different business strategies are all key skills for this position. In this way, you will stay on top of key trends, which is absolutely necessary for the modern-day chief innovation officer.

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