Career Definition of an Innovation Strategist
An innovation strategist utilizes their analytical skills to evaluate an organization's operations, including internal structure, business processes, and information technology infrastructure, and to develop methods for improvements. The focus is to streamline operations, enhance the customer experience, and increase revenue. Innovation strategists work in a variety of industries, including financial service organizations and professional services firms.
Specific job responsibilities for innovation strategists are dependent on the industry. General job duties can include encouraging cooperation among internal departments to ensure alignment, examining market trends to assist in developing ways for the organization to remain competitive, and overseeing risk management. Innovation strategists may collaborate with executive management to determine service gaps and create ways to improve service offerings. They may also liaise with vendors on negotiations that affect new product development. Innovation strategists can attend conferences or tradeshows to represent an organization and provide recommendations during the product development phase.
|Educational Requirements||Bachelor's degree|
|Job Skills||Excellent communication skills, strong analytical abilities, and strong technical skills|
|Median Salary (2017)*||$61,296|
|Job Outlook (2016-2026)**||9% (Business Operations Specialists, All Other)|
Sources:*PayScale.com, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Individuals will need a bachelor's degree in business management or a related field to work as an innovation strategist, with some employers preferring a master's degree. Relevant work experience in managing cross-functional teams and innovation initiatives will be beneficial. Interested individuals can obtain membership in an industry organization like the International Association of Innovation Professionals. The organization offers training and certification for members.
Excellent communication skills are an essential asset for innovation strategists, as they are responsible for developing strategies to improve an organization's performance. These skills will also be essential in fostering collaboration among internal departments, interacting with clients, and mentoring junior personnel. Innovation strategists should have strong analytical abilities in order to evaluate an organization's business processes, determine solutions to minimize operating costs while improving customer satisfaction, and implement those solutions. Strong technical skills are needed to analyze an organization's information technology infrastructure and recommend improvements. Relevant technical skills and knowledge may include Agile, UI/UX practices, API integrations, and databases.
Career Outlook and Salary
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not collect statistics on innovation strategists; however, they reported a 9% job growth for the category of business operations specialists, all other, during 2016-2026, which is about as fast as average for all occupations. In October 2017, PayScale.com reported a median annual salary of $61,296 for innovation strategists.
Individuals considering a career as an innovation strategist might also be interested in one of the related careers profiled below. They offer candidates the opportunity to utilize their skills in other strategic or creative positions.