We are in the midst of a consultation process, following Rita Gunther McGrath’s advice on how to convert a garden variety company into an innovation leader. We have done a risk/reward assessment and got senior management behind the effort. What is next? A new corporate structure – the innovation oversight board.
You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to come to the conclusion that things happen only when someone is responsible to make them happen. And so, capitalism works when those with capital delegate the responsibility for use of capital to risk takers. They make things happen – initially overseas exploration and return with booty.
The same is true for innovation. Who is responsible for innovating in a firm? Not the CEO – he or she is responsible for reporting success to shareholders or to his or her board. Success may or may not include innovation. Not the staff. They are responsible to get their jobs done.
So an innovation board makes sense. Indeed, it makes sense in private firms as well as public institutions. You might wonder why we don’t have more of them.