Right relationship between innovation and business units?

A long-time product development and innovation executive in the consumer electronics industry sent in this RFI (request for input) anonymously:

What is the optimal relationship between an innovation/team group and the lines of business? Is there a ‘golden rule’ for how close or how far away it should be? Too close seems to create conflict, but too far away means it can be hard to execute anything the innovation team comes up with. I’m also interested in whether innovation teams should have line-of-business employees, like salespeople or engineers, on them.

We got many great responses from innovation executives, CEOs, investors, and academics. You can still add your thoughts in the comments below, or cast your vote… But here are a few highlights from the answers.

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