Forget CEO. The hottest job in the C-suite is the CIO or Chief Innovation Officer. A Chief Innovation Officer is responsible for change management in the organization. This could include anything from product development to IT infrastructure changes to business process innovation and pivoting from one business model to another. But what does it take to become a Chief Innovation Officer?
Have the Right Credentials
According to industry surveys, having a bachelor’s degree in business or IT is a minimum if you’re going to work as a chief innovation officer. Earning an MBA is a good first step to becoming a CIO. However, that credential is so common that it is mundane. Therefore a DBA candidate could have an edge. You may learn how to analyze business data and identify opportunities while planning how the organization will capitalize on them. You could learn how to manage complex change. This isn’t just required to shift from supplying a product to servicing it but implementing massive IT infrastructure changes. Or you could work with analysts to track the pulse of the market and identify hidden long-trends the company needs to keep up with. If you can get ahead of them, you may have a higher chance of beating the competition. This is also why businesses want qualified business experts as their CIOs.
Organizations may be unlikely to place you in charge of change for the entire organization if you don’t have a track record of success. You rise through the ranks when finding solutions to business problems and implement them. This is why you’ll need to learn how to solve problems and manage change in your current role before you could be promoted up the ranks to CIO. Ironically, you might achieve this by gaining the necessary education and becoming a business consultant. If you can guide other companies through massive changes or make major improvements in their organization, you may be considered qualified for a CIO role when the opportunity becomes available.
Improve Your Interpersonal Skills
Data analysis is increasingly done by IT, but it takes wisdom to be able to make use of data, charts, and reports. Learn how to identify the people who can give you essential insight. Cultivate peers who can uncover interesting trends or exceptions to the rule to take advantage of these data-informed insights. Encourage feedback, whether it is good or bad so that you can make the right decision. Cultivate leadership in your subordinates, so that they can manage the team members below them. This won’t just reduce the management load you carry; it will increase employee loyalty. You never know who will either hire you as a consultant or end up as your boss one day.
Make Use of Existing Tools
Management is increasingly data-driven. Today, data is being collected from everything from user interactions with websites to motor control centers on the shop floor. Furthermore, we’re seeing the rapid growth of technology intended to collect and manage the massive amount of data being collected. If you want to oversee managing and making improvements in operations, you need to know how to make use of tools like AI, machine learning, and process automation to make use of the data and know when you need to act while reducing the need to analyze before you can act. Try to learn more about technologies like edge computing and blockchain before you jump on the trend of implementing them. After all, just because it worked for someone else doesn’t mean it is right for your organization, and you can’t afford to waste resources implementing tech because it is trending right now.