What’s a “chief innovation officer” to do?

SuperValu recently announced the hiring of a “chief innovation officer.” As discussed on RetailWire, I thought the job description sounded pretty vague. Here’s my comment:

This is a title (like “chief experience officer”) that only means something when the underlying value is embraced by the entire organization. It’s hard to impose “innovation” from the top down if it’s not part of Supervalu’s everyday culture. And the most innovative companies — in any industry — focus on innovation from the ground up.

When you read the job description from George Anderson’s article (“will work closely with the company’s various units to develop new business and cross-channel merchandising and promotions initiatives, while driving integration of logistical solutions for its retail customers”), does this sound like innovation? It sounds like Supervalu is aiming for better execution of omnichannel, multi-platform opportunities, and supply chain management. But “innovation”? We’ll see.


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