Measuring Innovation Summary

Over the past few weeks I have written about ten different innovation metrics. While innovation is complex, and there is no single secret to success, the most powerful lever available to the Chief Innovation Officer, however, may be the measure, analyze and act cycle. Innovation thrives on clarity and a good measurement system can generate insight into what is driving results.

The specific measures, metrics and analyses in the list below comprise the component parts of an innovation performance management system. Cobbling together a few of these indicators into a dashboard that provides insight to the executive team would be a very valuable exercise. Building the measurement system in a large, global organization is not a task for the faint of heart. The complexities of systems, currencies, and definitions make normalizing the data extremely difficult. The effort though is worth the cost as the alternative is flying blind.

The ten measures I highlighted recently are listed below with a link to each post:

1. Pipeline ECV

2. Development Cycle Time

3. R&D Growth Effectiveness

4. R&D Effectiveness Index

5. Forecast Degradation

6. Resource Productivity

7. Innovation Vitality Index

8.   Incremental Sales

9. Portfolio Mix & Balance 

10. Innovation ROI

These do not represent the perfect list of innovation metrics and may not even be the best ones available. Each of them has their challenges from difficulty of measurement to potential for manipulation. My advice is to ensure that you align your measurement system to your business and innovation strategy. If you believe that what gets measured gets done, then it is important to build a system that supports your goals and doesn’t distract from the results you are trying to achieve.

Lastly, using a measurement system just to monitor innovation performance misses the real value. The system should allow you to gain insight into why performance is what it is and enable you to act on what you learn. This is the measure, analyze and act cycle that creates the learning culture that is so important to innovation.