5 responsibilities of being an Innovation Manager

September 18, 2020

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Today businesses are moving at a steady pace and getting new competitors every day. One needs to be a step ahead to be a part of the race. Along with that adapting and evolving incessantly to keep up with the market and social trends is a must.

A Successful Business stands out not only because of great product/service, people or leader but also because of an innovation agent who works behind the scene to keep the whole team motivated and engaged. This innovation agent is none other than your innovation manager who constantly works towards success of product/service.

Every business has its own Research and development team working in quest of fresh and novel ideas to improve. A research shows that 81% of the asked ‘mature’ companies cite innovation as a strength of the organization, compared with only 10% from early-stage companies [Deloitte Insights].


An Innovation manager seeks these novel and innovative ideas to turn them into innovations. Being familiar with new trends, technologies and research & analysis makes the innovation manager a person of the moment.

“An innovation manager is the enabler for shaping a culture of high performance, research-oriented revolutionary approach, and a goal-oriented team that continuously thrives for excellence.” – says Alexey Trigolos, one of Elinext company top managers who contributed immensely into the company prosperity and development.

But being merely an enabler is not the only key responsibility, you actually need much more.

5 precise analyzed roles and responsibilities required of an innovation manager are as follows:

1. Entrepreneurial and Creative Strategist

For making a business successful, one must think from a business perspective. It helps in meeting the customer’s expectations. Every entrepreneur is leveraged with positive attitude along with creative thinking.

An innovation manager is no different from an entrepreneur who drives their team. They start with a business case followed by an optimistic approach towards it.

Optimism doesn’t mean ignorance of going wrong but about learning to respond to a situation, not in your favour. Such a mindset often influences your team and motivates them for a bigger challenge ahead. As quoted by ‘Israelmore Ayivor’,

“When the positive mind takes the lead, the legs are safe to follow without any shaking!”

2. Futurologist

An innovation manager must see the bigger picture and plan accordingly. Innovation is the mother of creation but is often accompanied by challenges. Being a futurologist, you need to visualize it ahead of time.

Furthermore, your strategy should incorporate future market trends and technology based on your research.

An innovation manager’s job is to carve futuristic perspective with an expedient, actionable approach to see likely outcomes and drive foresight into leadership deliberation. 3Ps of future FITness can help to transform signals into insights.

3. Courageous & Disruptive leadership

As said by Steve Jobs, Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower. As an innovation manager, your job is foresting a culture of courageous and disruption because they don’t lend themselves to cultural and social norms.

Often faced by internal barriers blocking your speed, your role is to manage individuals to overcome these barriers with quick and smart ways ensuring unhindered progress. You are the one driving the change and your team follows you.

You are a leader by choice not by force.

4. Risk Management

Every business involves risks but the risk of unknows is far greater in the world of innovation.

The Involvement of risk management in an entire innovation process at any business makes you stand on the line of defense that comes into operational management.

Innovation manager can manage risk by measuring how ideas can be executed, there subsequent risks, and possible alternatives with a contingency plan to minimize risk. Making it part of his decision model will help him in estimating.

5. Portfolio Controller

Innovation manager should prioritize and oversee the selection of project spaces that will meet the long-term financial goals and risk tolerance of investors. Controller will measure the innovation goal, fix the strategy accordingly and articulate it to business.

During the project lifecycle, the innovation manager should ensure compliance with project controlling standards & processes. This will lead towards optimum returns on the investment.

Other than that, continuous feedback and customer-based processes will surely demonstrate customer-centric strategy. Being a better competitive one is a way to achieve the aforementioned benefits to focus on cost leadership for an innovation manager.

About the author

Alex Sysov, an independent thinker and a strong business development professional skilled in Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), PPC management, E-commerce, Content marketing & CRO (conversion rate optimisation), with a demonstrated history of working in the marketing and advertising industry. Aimed at continuously improving skill-sets and learning new technologies.

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