How To Measure Innovation: Metrics And Figures

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In a recent study by PwC, 61% of CEOs said that innovation was a key priority for them (see that here). But innovation is a strange beast, and how exactly does one judge if all of your hard work innovating is paying off? We’ve put together a handy list of metrics to track, just to make your process that little bit easier.

The three stages of your process are likely to be split into three categories: sourcing, decision-making & acting.

Let’s start this week from the top, sourcing.

Sourcing refers to the overall process of idea generation, and from a qualitative view, you want to see ideas to be:

  • Different and distinct from one another
  • Matching current customer / company needs
  • Matching the level of ambition within your own company
  • Beneficial to growing your community

But when you come to really analyse how well your community is progressing, it’s all subjective. What you really need is to be able to see the numbers, but it’s important to look for the numbers that matter. With that said, there are seven key figures:

  1. Number of Unique Logins

Simple things first, the number of unique logins to your idea management software will show you the general volume of your community, and what your potential user base is. This can be found by measuring the ratio of logins over time and dividing this figure by the number of users invited. This is one of your most important metrics, with no logins, there are no ideas. With this, you can prove the credibility of your program is increasing, or provide warning signs that you need to push further.

  1. Trend In Activity

Of those total number of unique logins that you’ve calculated, which could be many or just a few, how many of those produce the goods for your innovation project? Take the total number of ideas to date or over a specific time period, and divide this by the number of unique logins. This should give you the average community input. This is a great way of ensuring that your community is aware of your challenges.

  1. Average Number Of Comments Per Idea

Ideas are a great start, but ideas need contribution to succeed. The key to a good community is those participants knowing that it’s not all about submitting their best ideas, but collaborating. Divide the number of comments by the number of ideas, simple as that. You should be aiming for at least 2 comments per idea for an across the board average.

  1. Average Number of Replies Per Comment

While it may not appear as vital as the above point, replies are what really gets your community working together. Good discussions and comment trawlers should be rewarded, as these can really get the creative process kicking off. Possibly even more important that number of comments, albeit harder to achieve. Aim for at least 0.5 replies per comment.

  1. Unique Locations Contributing

Diversity across thoughts is a massive driver of eventual success. Allow people to submit ideas across their normal fields, you never know where the best ideas come from. So the more challenges are being contributed to continuously, to find new perspectives from a larger talent source. While not always the case, as with Idea Spotlight’s success with Aviva, it is a general rule.

Be sure to check in for the next instalment of this series, where we’ll look at the key figures involved in decision making and auctioning.

You might also be interested in viewing some examples of success with Idea Spotlight, and see the numbers alongside to prove it. We’d recommend looking at how Waitrose set up their Partners’ Ideas Scheme as a best practice.

You also might be interested in our upcoming report : Everyday Innovation. Working with industry experts, we aim to deconstruct what Innovation really means, and show you our own best practices, and how to stay ahead of the market through the power of innovation.

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