The composition of an innovation team — and where it sits in the organization — is as important to driving successful innovations as the innovation strategy itself.

There are two ways to set up and structure innovation teams, and both approaches have benefits and drawbacks. One of them is separate and insulated from the pressures of day-to-day operations; the other is integrated and intertwined. The culture of the organization should drive which one it adopts, and in the slides below I outline the pros and cons of each scenario.

I also lay out some of the most common reporting relationships for innovation groups: to Chief Innovation Officers, Chief Marketing Officers, Chief Strategy Officers, etc. Each reporting relationship can make some things easier, but others more difficult. When things are not working well, or well enough, you may want to reassess the topic of reporting relationships, based on the company’s priorities and the individuals who currently occupy senior leadership roles.

Where should innovation sit in the organization? Since every company is different, there’s no single right answer. But I hope these slides will help you design a structure that works for you

Click either image below to see a higher-resolution version. It is also available as PDF, and is part of our Blueprints for Corporate Innovators collection of tools and templates.



Rachael Schwartz is a Contributing Columnist and Executive Director of Product Management, Cooking, at GE Appliances. She is also the Former VP of Product Management & Innovation, Keurig.