Gaining CEO Involvement in Innovation

When it comes to spurring innovation, today’s CEOs are two handed. On one hand, they know they need to devote attention to it –to generate organic growth. But on the other they are focused on making those numbers quarter in and quarter out, such that innovation practitioners must constantly work to gain and keep CEO mindshare and support.

For years we’ve assumed that CEOs short shrift innovation out of the need to focus on short term priorities. We’ve assumed that many are reluctant to get involved in projects that have a longer time horizon because of the trend towards shorter and shorter tenure at the helm (seven years median according to Booz & Co. research). And in the current global slowdown, we’ve seen an overwhelming preference for hunkering down and cost cutting, and risk-adverse, line extensions and me too products and services, rather than game changing products like the iPhone.

But there’s another explanation that gets far less attention: lack of knowledge about how to move the growth needle.

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