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Innovation officers helping to create a new culture

Innovation officers helping to create a new culture
Position is becoming more common and important at a variety of organizations

Throughout Northeast Ohio, the chief innovation officer increasingly is becoming part of today's C-suite among larger, well-established companies and institutions — from Sherwin-Williams and Parker Hannifin to Case Western Reserve University — as their contributions to the global marketplace accelerate.

By KATHY AMES CARR Crains Communication Inc.

All systems go
Innovation also is surrounding the Cleveland Metropolitan School District under a transformation plan that aims to increase the number of high-performing district and charter schools and replace those that are failing.

Christine Fowler-Mack is leading efforts to connect the dots among those schools with innovative practices in teaching and learning that she helped spearhead during her former role as the district's chief of new and innovative schools and programs.

Now that the groundwork has been laid for instituting new technology and project-based schools — such as Campus International, which collaborates with Cleveland State University — she is taking her current duties as chief portfolio officer to the next level.

A broader strategy of incorporating those types of schools and additional strategic community partnerships will create a portfolio of high-quality schools system-wide, she said. In fact, the district is ramping up staffing in its innovation office to facilitate this next phase.

“We don't want to just have islands of excellence,” Ms. Fowler-Mack said. “It takes a community to meet needs of children.”