The notion of a central management group for innovation —- such as a CDO or Chief Innovation Officer -— has some merit. Such a leadership role can articulate a vision, and a strategy to get there. But once that vision is articulated, is a centralized structure really the best way to achieve it?
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Digital failures are often caused by organizational misalignment. And part of the problem is that a centralized team can struggle to drive the day-to-day execution of product innovation. After all, a CDO doesn’t own the products. The CDO owns the vision —- a vision that could quickly become outdated given the speed and unpredictability of these changes.
Think about it: digital disruption will force a formerly slow, conservative, top-down industry to become more nimble and customer-focused. Should that transformation be managed by new top-down structures, with a single individual charged with changing behaviors throughout the organization?