For most companies, developing a winning innovation strategy isn’t business as usual. It takes time, skills, and resources, including a dedicated team of entrepreneurial professionals to guide the process. But it can be difficult to determine which people will be best suited to an organization’s needs because there are so many innovation roles, job titles, and descriptions out there. What do they all do?

As an innovation consultancy, we’ve been involved in innovation projects around the globe. This means we have cooperated with many different profiles within the field of innovation. So we thought we’d make a list of all the different innovation jobs we’ve encountered in hopes that it might help you determine various the roles you could use during your innovation process.

Of course, as many people are allowed to choose their own job titles, some descriptions overlap. This makes it really challenging to determine the differences between varying innovation roles. Some people even pick multiple job titles (there are a few guilty parties in our very own team).

This list already contains 19 different innovation job titles and descriptions. The terms and responsibilities are constantly evolving, so if you know of innovation jobs that should be added to this post, please share them on LinkedIn!

Many thanks in advance and let’s keep innovating.

Innovation consultant

As the title suggests, this is an external advisor specialized in different aspects of innovation. Mostly, they are only involved for a limited period of time. Innovation consultants that start working in-house at one of their clients are likely to become innovation managers. Both titles are frequently used and suggest either that they are working for a conservative, established organization or that they don’t have a specialization yet.

Business (model) designer

This is a job title we use here at Board of Innovation. A business designer creates and develops suitable business models to find revenue streams and pricing strategies for new products or services. Business designers support corporate innovation teams in their quest to find new desirable, viable, and feasible business opportunities that could deliver business value and results (for example, by creating disruptive new business models or generating new revenue streams).

Alternative title: business model architect.

Change agent

A change agent focuses on the HR part of innovation. This person loves to spread the culture of innovation within an organization and has what it takes to motivate people to make a change. The goal of a change agent is to design and implement a transformation strategy. The main task in this role is setting up a structure that supports innovation in a company while making sure the most important ‘political figures’ of the company see the value of the change. Coaching, motivating, and supporting these sponsors builds the foundation required to get their support.

Chief innovation officer (cio)

The CIO (chief innovation officer) is the face of innovation in a large organization. He or she defines the innovation strategy based on the overall corporate strategy and checks if it is executed as planned. This person is on the same level as the CEO, but often leads a team of innovation managers and new business development managers.

New business development manager

This role focuses on consumer and market research (observational studies, focus groups, surveys) by working on industry forecasts, SWOT analyses, and consumer interviews. This person’s goal is to spot new opportunities (market segments, product categories ⇒ revenue streams) for the company to work on. The new business development manager usually leads a small team to commercialize new opportunities into new markets.

Business development lead

Business development leads guide and fuel the growth of a company, shape its sales strategy, and develop new and existing business relationships. This person will pursue new business development activities and guide teams to do the same.

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