Metrics are crucial for any project, but without clear goals they’re unreliable and downright confusing.
Committing to innovation is an exciting time for an organization. But with (hopefully) so many new ideas flying around, it can be easy to lose focus on what you’re actually trying to do and ensure that you’re still on the right track. You need a way to measure your progress towards the goals you’ve set and eventually the results. You need metrics.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a standard metric for tracking innovation and its different stages and capabilities (LINK). Some projects are tiny, and some are large. Some are fast, and some take more time. But they all need a solid ROI. Still, even with a basic understanding of the types of innovation, you can set a standard for tracking the improvements your organization is trying to make.
Measuring Incremental Innovation
Smaller, continuous improvement and efficiency based improvements have a fast time to implementation, and a measurable effect on the bottom-line. You can scope out the progress your team is making, and quantify the money and resources you’re saving once the changes are made.
Metrics – Time Savings, Cost Savings, Revenue Growth
INTERACTIVE – Is your Company actually ready to Innovate?
Measuring Breakthrough and Disruptive Innovation
Larger projects, particularly those coming from research and development, might be launched with the goals of boosting revenue or cutting costs as well, but are much more dynamic, and heavily based on potential and projections. These types of projects will have several trackable metrics, and especially in the early stages will need a more qualitative means of tracking their progress, as the bottom-line effect will be felt further into the future.
Metrics – Ideas Produced, Impressions Made, Pre-Orders, Revenue and Cost Projections (Soft)
Regardless of your innovation strategy and your means of tracking it, promoting continuous improvement and thought holds secondary benefits outside of the projects you’re pursuing too. Greater employee engagement, a constant flow of new ideas, an innovative communication, new methods of research, and cross-functional collaboration are all outcomes from promoting innovation company-wide, proof that while everyone wants healthier margins, you can’t base the success of your innovation program strictly bottom-line results.