You want to invest in innovation and get your employees geared up and ready to submit their ideas. But, how do you know if your strategy is working? This blog will guide you through making sure you stay on track.
Why Do You Need an Innovation Strategy?
As an article from CIO Magazine said: “Original ideas are not born from assumptions in the past. They arise from the strategic and calculated alignment of ideas into seemingly abnormal combinations, creating new causes.”
Strategy is key to coming up with new ideas that will take your business in the right direction.
By committing to a strategy and associated KPIs, you show that your business is committed to innovation and sees it as a priority for the future. This also creates greater accountability among your teams and encourages employees to think about realizing the value of ideas as part of their day-to-day roles.
What is Your Objective?
Why have you set up an innovation strategy? What is it you’re hoping to achieve?
As with any planning process, the first step to determining the success of your strategy is to first define what the ultimate goal is.
You may find it useful to go back to your original business strategy and ensure that your innovation strategy supports your core outcomes. For example, if your business strategy is to become more sustainable, then your innovation strategy could be based around designing and producing successful projects to cut back on waste resources.
What Do You Need to Measure?
Innovation is a fickle thing to quantify as – for the most part – it’s intangible. However, there are key indicators that you can use to ensure that your strategy is heading in the right direction.
- Employee engagement – no innovation strategy is going to get off the ground without buy-in from across the organisation. Track how many individuals and teams are getting involved by monitoring the total individual contributors each month. This should also help you to identify areas that need a little more support or encouragement to start contributing suggestions.
- Ideas submitted – similar to the KPI above, how many suggestions are being put forward? You could consider giving managers a target to encourage them to get their teams involved.
- Ideas carried forwards – this is a crucial metric for analysing the practicality of ideas being submitted. How many ideas are being put through to the consideration stage and actively being considered for projects? If very few are, you may want to consider creating challenges related to business strategies or amending submission forms to include elements such as predicted benefits.
- Deadlines hit and missed – are you missing out on potential value due to bottlenecks in your processes? Keep an eye on the number of processes within your strategy that suffer from missed deadlines and work with your teams to relieve any challenges that are causing these.
- Completed projects – once ideas have been validated and selected to be realized as full-blown projects, it’s essential to monitor how many are then completed. Having figures for submitted, considered and completed ideas will give a clear indication of the percentage of suggestions that are being converted into business value.
- ROI of completed projects – be sure to record the monetary (and non-monetary, such as employee satisfaction scores) value of projects that have stemmed from employee suggestions. This will enable you to pinpoint the value of innovation within your business.
- Costs incurred – finally, to see the true value of your efforts, you need to consider costs incurred, and time and resources (such as working hours) used whilst gathering ideas and realizing . You should also take the opportunity to compare predictions with actual costs to see if you used more or less resources that originally planned. This will help you to make more accurate predictions on future projects.
Be Ready to Adapt
Like any strategy, innovation should adapt to changing times and the evolving needs of your business. You need to have regular sessions to touch base with teams, analyse results and solve potential challenges to ensure the continued success of innovation within your organization.
You also need to review the KPIs you are measuring to ensure that they reflect the results you and your team are looking to achieve.
How edison365 can help
edison365’s suite of software is designed to take your ideas from the drawing board to the project management office. Not only does it provide a holistic view of your innovation efforts, but it also enables oversite of bottlenecks and generates real-time reports to keep your stakeholders in the loop. You can find out more on the edison365 innovation software website.
As a passionate innovation and technology evangelist, Tad is the Executive Vice President at edison365, working with some of the most innovative companies in the world, every day. With years of experience in change management and business building, Tad has plenty of transformation stories to share in manufacturing, engineering, financial services plus health and life sciences. A long tenure at Microsoft, at the front-end of innovation and project management software delivery, helped him see what it means to transform and deliver at scale.