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Same Old, Same Old…

We often hear the term ‘innovation’ being used in organizations and generally used appropriately as people recognize that within business, innovation is key. If you stand still too long you inevitably get run over by the competition.

Although we see and hear the term regularly, we rarely see it translated into meaningful actions or executable plans. Often for many it just appears to mean doing the same things but faster and/or cheaper. We often come across client companies that have innovation as a core value and yet we see little in the way of practical, tangible efforts to innovate.

When working with clients to help them develop their strategy, we use two key examples of the inability to innovate costing a business its very existence – Nokia and Blockbuster. The Nokia and Blockbuster cases clearly support the cliché of ‘innovate or die’.

Companies must exploit their innovative capabilities to develop new businesses if they are to successfully confront the effects of emerging technologies, empowered customers, new market entrants, shorter product life cycles, geopolitical instability and market globalization. Indeed, the development of innovative capabilities is the only means by which companies can sustain a strategic competitive advantage.

In every industry the leaders are invariably the innovators but innovation per se is a rather nebulous term and how might we measure it as a critical performance indicator within our business?

As you look at your own business, how do you drive innovation and importantly what metrics do you use to measure innovation in your organization? Here are a few to get you started:

• Percentage of capital that is invested in innovation activities
• Percentage of workforce time that is currently dedicated to innovation projects
• Number of new products, services, and businesses launched in the past year
• Percentage of revenue from products or services introduced in the past three years
• Percentage of employees for whom innovation is a key performance goal
• Number of new competencies introduced in the past 12 months
• Percentage of executives’ time spent on strategic innovation rather than day-to-day operations
• Percentage of managers with training in the concepts and tools of innovation
• Number of ideas submitted by employees in the past three, six, and twelve months

As you move toward setting your goals and objectives for 2018 take care to consider innovation as a critical metric. If your goals and objectives coming forward are bereft of innovation actions then you might be in for a rough ride……

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