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Part Time Innovation Executive Stimulates Growth in Small Companies
Gregg Fraley -- Best Creativity Consultant Gregg Fraley -- Best Creativity Consultant
Chicago, IL
Sunday, August 15, 2021

The Five Duties of an Innovation Executive

Is Your Company Part of the MisFortune 10,000? Struggling to Get to the Next Level?

A Practical Solution for Medium Sized Companies to Grow

The 80/20 Rule Applis to the MisFortune 10,000 When It Comes to Innovation

The Fortune 1,000 work innovation process like mad. Many have fine-tuned frameworks with a high level of sophistication. That lowers risk. However, elaborate innovation frameworks slow things down. This mild paralysis is an opening for small and medium sized companies. They can grow by beating bigger players to the punch. But the "MisFortune 10,000" tend to miss this opportunity.

Time to consider a Fractional Chief Innovation Officer (CINO) to load up that innovation punch. Fractional is a bit of jargon, but, it means part time! Here's why.

Speed and momentum matter in innovation, even more so to smaller firms. Leverage the innate agility. The best way to ramp up and grow quickly, beyond having a great initial business idea, is to continuously innovate. It's strategic for a growth oriented organization.

This means you need a bona fide innovation professional on staff. A full time Chief Innovation Officer (CINO) is a large line item expense, and, most small and medium sized companies simply can't afford one — or think they can't. Instead, it's up to the skeleton C-Suite team, already maxed out, to not only formalize operations, but also, continue to invent. That never works. Those functions are polar opposites.

Real expertise is expensive and many second stage companies get sticker shock when faced with hiring expertise. CEO's and founders of these companies are used to the high performance/low pay model they got used to in the first phase of growth.

Lack of innovation expertise is a major reason MisFortune 10,000 struggle to grow. A Fractional CINO addresses these missing skill sets:

The MisFortune 10,000 Tend to Lack These Innovation Skills:

  • Process and Innovation Project Management Skills — including: team building, culture leadership, innovation project roadmapping, and more. If you're mid-sized, paying attention to growing these skills helps you grow.
  • Market Research — qualitative, quantitative, and ethnographic research are rarely done in mid-sized organizations. In general "insight development" (finding opportunities to grow) is something that should not be purely intuitive. Doing even basic market research takes training and experience.
  • Facilitation — who conducts strategy, visioning, ideation, and solution development meetings? It's almost impossible for an insider, with other duties and biases, to do this well.
  • Prototyping — including: design, graphic arts, and concept writing are skills that go beyond engineering. New ideas need to integrate product development with marketing and sales as well.
  • Product Development — taking good ideas and fine tuning, branding, and packaging, all require informed creativity, and, hands-on, knowledge and experience.
  • Digital Technology and Marketing — It's hard to emphasize what a big innovation opportunity (or a huge pitfall) the plethora of new digital tech is for a second stage company.

Fractional Trend

It's the 80/20 rule. Hiring a Fractional CINO gets you most of the pricey benefits of having innovation process experience. Don't be put off by the new jargon, a strategic part timer isn't a new concept, but it is an emerging trend.

Look at what GigX is doing, or Toptal in the software/financial space. There are many firms and consultants offering CxO fractional services. The Edward Lowe Foundation provides strategic growth assistance as part of their many and varied programs for second stage companies. The win for the fractional person is straightforward — it's flexible, part time, interesting, well paid, work.

Hire a Fractional Chief Innovation Officer, It's the 80/20 Solution

A Fractional Chief Innovation Officer is a practical, high value solution. A part time strategic asset gets your organization focused on the most essential, growth oriented, innovation projects.

A Fractional Chief Innovation Officer is a MisFortune 10,000 solution for growth.

GFi does fractional CINO work. Final thought: Non-profits need CINO skills too.

Gregg Fraley is an author and consultant, the founder of Gregg Fraley Innovation (GFi). Gregg has worked with many companies in the Fortune 1000, but also has assisted the MisFortune 10,000 in finding ways to breakout growth. He's a Visiting Innovation Scholar at Notre Dame. His business novel, "Jack's Notebook" is used in many business schools to teach structured creative problem solving. 

News Media Interview Contact
Name: Gregg Fraley
Title: Founding Partner
Group: KILN Ideas, Ltd.
Dateline: Three Oaks, MI United States
Direct Phone: 773-251-8567
Cell Phone: 773-251-8567
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