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How To Measure Innovation Part 3 – Questions And Actions

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The last couple of weeks we’ve been running over some of the best metrics that you can track in order to ensure the success of your idea management scheme. If you haven’t read the previous posts, we recommend that you have a look, as they will take you through the early stages of sourcing ideas where we separate how ideas are segmented and what your community can tell you in Part 1, and how to find out how reliable your idea selectors are in Part 2.

Incremental innovation_group discussing

With that in mind, we can focus our attention towards the final objective – Action (though it should be noted that innovation is a cycle of perpetual motion, and shouldn’t be just thought as a 1-2-3 process).

What is the Action Stage? The Action Stage refers to the activities in place to prove out an idea, to develop it with an eye for implementation, but also to work out whether an idea that looks great on paper can be adjusted to working in real life. This is also the best time to ask yourself the three key questions, which are vital for understanding whether your new idea or technique will be taken on.

These are:

  1. Does your Idea target enough jobs of real people? – Do people actually have this job-to-be-done that your proposal will address and are there enough of these target people for it to matter the business? You can create a revolutionary product, but simply, if the market isn’t there for it, it will surely fail. Make sure that the ideas you’re committing time and money towards is something that would actively make your employees better at their jobs, and be something that is wanted in the first place.
  1. Is your proposal better than the current solution? – Not just “is this solution a little better than a previous solution”. The higher the investment required, the higher the margin of improvement there generally needs to be. At what points does this proposed idea satisfy the working process better than before? A clear analysis is needed to demonstrate this. Keep in mind the Endowment Effect (we overvalue something that we currently have over something we could have –“a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush”) and the Uncertainty Effect (that our bias shifts towards loss aversion when we consider the potential benefits of something new; and that the perceived chance of failure tends to be higher due to this).
  1. Does the value that is proposed outweigh the cost to the beneficiary? – When we use the word ‘cost’ this doesn’t necessarily mean the cost of providing the idea, but also costs such as learning processes, loss of existing data etc. A perfect example of this is a tire that Michelin introduced in the 1990s. The tire had a sensor and could run for 125 miles after being punctured. A sensor in the car would let the driver know about the issue. But for drivers, a daunting issue emerged: how do you get those tires fixed/replaced? They required special equipment that garages didn’t have and weren’t going to purchase. The cost of these superior tires did not outweigh the cost of not being able to get them fixed/replaced, hence, their failure.

To see what implementing an idea management programme would look like, download our guide “The First 90 Days of Idea Management For Business”

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