Chief Innovation Officer
Chief Innovation Officer

Companies have always needed innovation. They cannot thrive without new ideas, new products, and new services. But with the rise of the Internet and the emergence of social media, they are now faced with a new breed of challenges on how to engage their customers.

At least five firms in the Fortune 500 saw these needs and created a new executive role -- chief innovation officer -- to find solutions for those new challenges. A recent example: PepsiCo's CIO, Mikel Durham, created a "Social Vending System." With the push of a button, customers can buy a soda for a friend who lives across the world.

As technology expands and barriers between customers and companies crumble, chief innovation officers will be the keys to keeping those barriers down and customer interest high.

Last updated June 23 2011: 11:17 AM ET
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