1. News
  2. Life of a CIO: New research provides insights into the role of a Chief Innovation Officer

Life of a CIO: New research provides insights into the role of a Chief Innovation Officer

James Gore - Corporate Affairs Lead
Corporate Affairs Lead
Read time:
Life of a CIO. CIO in a boardroom highlighted by a lamp

At ForrestBrown we work with some of the UK’s most innovative companies. This gives us a unique view of business trends in a critical part of the UK economy.

Increasing numbers of companies are looking to build and maintain the capacity to innovate, recognising the importance of innovation to their future growth, so we thought it would be timely to take a closer look at the role of a Chief Innovation Officer (CIO).

10% of FTSE100 companies have a CIO

Our research shows that this new breed of CIOs – not to be confused with the role of Chief Information Officer, which has a longer history in the corporate world – is gaining a foothold in boardrooms.

Although FTSE 100 firms with Chief Innovation Officers remain in the minority (one in ten), 43% employ senior professionals specialising in innovation, suggesting the next generation of CIOs are waiting in the wings.

And looking beyond the FTSE 100, the picture is even more encouraging for innovation leaders. Across sectors where research and development (R&D) intensity is typically highest – such as aerospace and defence, engineering, manufacturing and software – 71% of Chief Innovation Officers we surveyed are on the board of their company.

A further 28% expect to be on the board within the next 12 months, suggesting innovation is an increasingly important priority, with career prospects to match.

We also explored what makes this cohort of CIOs tick – and what keeps them awake at night, from the impact of Brexit to the current economic headwinds.

Life of a CIO report

Our ‘Life of CIO’ report provides further insights into the changing role of the CIO, throwing light on the opportunities and challenges facing some of the UK’s most innovative companies.

Headline findings include:

  • More than half of the CIOs surveyed have a Master’s degree, with just under a quarter educated to PhD level.
  • Around a third of CIOS have come to the role from an IT background, with finance, marketing and operations also common career paths for Chief Innovation Officers.
  • A quarter of CIOs identified setting the right objectives as their greatest challenge, with finding the right talent a close second.

Download the CIO report

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

It’s encouraging that so many companies are recognising the role of innovation. But it is also vital that they get a return on the investment they are making.

ForrestBrown’s expert team can support Chief Innovation Officers and their teams to effectively utilise government incentives for R&D to support business objectives and drive advances in science and technology that benefit all of society.

We’ll be sharing further insights from our ‘Life of a CIO’ report here and you can download the summary of the full report by filling in the form above. If you’re interested in investing in innovation then explore our Investment Potential Index – a valuable toolkit for uncovering hidden UK investment opportunities.