Innovation Strategy: The top three growth-hacks for CIO’s

Have a strong, long-term goal that is built on smaller attainable steps.

 In an open letter from the CEO of Nike, Inc. Mark Parker shares, “achieving our long-term vision requires us to hold ourselves accountable for real and meaningful short-term progress”.  Having a big long term goal will set the foundation and help you develop your “core attributes”. These attributes will form the foundation on which your company functions and conducts itself.

Once you set your innovation core attributes, it is easy to bring your team on board and empower your company to create successful and sustainable innovations. Remember that a goal is not a destination. Reaching your goal is not crossing the finish line. Instead, think of it as a checkpoint to reassess and recommit to new opportunities and challenges.

 Hire the right people

Brian Hamilton is the chairman and co-founder of Sageworks. He is the original architect of Sageworks artificial intelligence platform, FIND, which is the leading financial analysis technology for analyzing private companies. He refers to a startup’s first round of hires as Navy Seals. Hamilton believes the best Navy Seals are people who have a strong ability to multi-task and are less aware of what they cannot do. He prefers liberal arts majors because they often think in non-linear ways.  After all, the path to Innovation is not always linear. “You need people on your team who aren’t afraid to do exceptional things,” says Hamilton. No matter which stage of development your company is in, it is imperative to invest in the people and time needed to make innovation happen.

Optimize your meetings

Scale down your meeting size; “No innovation happens with 10 people in a room,” Paul English, the CEO of travel site Kayak, once told the New York Times. “It’s too easy to be a critic and say why something won’t work.” Kristen Gil, VP of operations at Google also suggests that the ideal meeting not consist of more than 10 people. “Everyone who attends should provide input. Attending meetings isn’t a badge of honor”. For brainstorming groups, the ideal number is four.

Keep meetings fast and focused. A well-run meeting is a valuable use of time. It empowers employees to share, solve, and innovate. Badly-run meetings on the other hand, are a demoralizing waste of time. According to Sean Blanda for, constraints breed creativity. Have a set end time. “By not placing an end time, we encourage rambling, off-topic and useless conversation,” says Blanda.

 Have a clear decision maker and leave the meeting with actionable tasks. There are 3 key components to any meeting agenda; a clear goal, a concise topic, and concrete next steps, or “actionables”. According to Fortune’s Adam Lashinsky, shared on by Sean Blanda, Apple breeds accountability at meetings by having a DRI (Directly Responsible Individual). During meetings action items are assigned to attendees. The name of the DRI appears next to all agenda items they are responsible for.  This ensures the work is followed-up on and completed once the meeting is over.

Make Innovation a repeatable process by applying these simple innovation hacks in your business. New or established; sustainable innovation requires us to constantly build and evolve our business model to deliver consistent profitable growth. Innovate to thrive.