Chief Innovation Officer: Job Description & Salary

May 29, 2020

Career Definition of a Chief Innovation Officer

A chief innovation officer focuses on creating and implementing an organization's goals while primarily focusing on developing new, fresh ideas. Some chief innovation officers are tasked with developing ideas on their own, with departments like research and development responsible for the implementation. In some organizations, the chief innovation officer is responsible for analyzing employees' ideas, selecting appropriate ones, and overseeing their implementation. Chief innovation officers work in a variety of settings, including educational institutions, international corporations, and pharmaceutical companies. They usually work full-time in an office environment.

Chief innovation officers' job responsibilities vary depending on the specific field. A primary job duty is managing the innovation process by developing goals, training employees, and encouraging continued involvement from employees. Other job duties may include conducting creativity training seminars, collaborating with executive management or department heads to implement strategies, and identifying employees who are resistant to change. Chief innovation officers must be able to effectively communicate the importance of innovative ideas and recognize which employees may not be a good fit for the organization.

Educational Requirements Bachelor's degree
Job Skills Excellent interpersonal skills, strong analytical abilities, and excellent leadership skills
Average Salary (2020)* $121,000 (for all directors of innovation)
Job Outlook (2018-2028)** -5% (for all chief executives)

Sources:*PayScale.com, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

Individuals will need a bachelor's degree, typically in a field such as business administration, to work as a chief innovation officer. Relevant work experience in a management role will be beneficial. Interested individuals can opt to join professional organizations like the International Association of Innovation Professionals. The organization offers training, as well as a certification option.

Required Skills

Excellent interpersonal skills are essential for chief innovation officers, as they are responsible for determining ways for organizations to thrive and communicating and implementing those ideas. These skills will also be essential in establishing collaborative relationships and encouraging change. Chief innovation officers should have strong analytical abilities in order to determine an organization's current and future needs, industry trends, and how an organization can differentiate itself. Excellent leadership skills are needed to oversee personnel and innovation initiatives.

Career Outlook and Salary

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not collect statistics on chief innovation officers specifically; however, the department reported a -5% job growth in the category of chief executives during 2018-2028. Individuals with a graduate degree and a strong management background will have the best job prospects. In May 2020, PayScale.com reported an average annual salary of $121,000 for directors of innovation.

Related Careers

Individuals considering a career as a chief innovation officer might also be interested in one of the related careers profiled below. They offer candidates the opportunity to utilize their strategic skills in other management positions.

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