Pro AV Should Think About Innovation Leadership

With the rise of new technologies and well documented workforce issues, pro AV should look into hiring an innovation officer.

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By now, everyone in the industry knows about the potential in the pro AV industry. According to AVIXA’s market research, the category is expected to balloon to $325 billion in 2024, up from $247 billion this year.

With the proliferation of IoT, the impending rise of 5G technologies and large shifts in workforce demographics, integrators, manufacturers and installers should take steps to adapt to these new technologies and changes in the industry

One way to do that is to innovate, and many companies are already following suit by hiring a chief innovation executive.

According to Harvard Business Review, 29% of Fortune 500 companies had some kind of senior innovation executive by 2017.

In a Review article written by leadership experts Darko Lovric and Greig Schneider, the pair list six main types of innovation officers:

  • Researcher – This innovation officer uses the scientific method to drive innovation and is most effective in a competitive space where intellectual property rules and regulations govern the market. They usually need a lot of funding and buy-in to make near-term plays for longer-term gains.
  • Engineer – The engineer tinkers with ideas and technology until something sticks. They’re often bursting with ideas and are most effective in tech-heavy industries like hardware manufacturing and automotive.
  • Investor – These data-driven innovation officers are typically after big growth. They take a mass of data and use it to choose the right innovation path for their companies but can sometimes be too focused on short-term results and may miss the bigger picture.
  • Advocate – This innovation chief typically comes from a marketing or design-thinking background and is usually customer focused and drive to deliver something new for the end user. They keep the brand relevant, which is useful in staying a step ahead in fast-moving industries. Be careful, though — their drive for innovation can lead them to pursue too many directions at once.
  • Motivator – Many of the other categories of innovation executives can be motivators. They strive to unleash the creative spirit of employees and customers to find new ideas and verticals. They’re typically found in organizations that are trying to reinvent themselves and remake the company’s culture by creating and inviting space for innovation.
  • Organizer – Identifiable by a strict adherence to color coding and structure, organizers focus on key performance indicators and numbers. Innovation under an organizer probably requires a clearly defined process for coming up with new ideas. They can be useful in industries where new ideas require wide employee participation and effective project management.

It’s clear that AV integrators could probably use all six of those types of innovation officers, but each of them will share characteristics with another type. However, the engineer, advocate, and motivator strike me as particularly relevant for the AV world.

Read Next: ‘Disruptive Innovation’ Should Be Your Pro AV Mantra

The fast-moving industry is becoming increasingly technical, focused on customer service and is in need of a culture change to solve the industry’s hiring problem.

Take a minute to think about which type of innovation chief and personality would work best with your company.