Jul 21

New ways to measure your level of innovation

I’ve recently picked up in a Strategy and Business Innovation blog called Christiansarker.com and on Business Week that the old chestnut of whizzy ways to measure how innovative you are has come up again. This time, however, rather than┬áa complex formula being promoted by an expensive and flashy Boston-based management consultancy, the proposal has come from good old British NESTA. They claim that the usual measures of innovativeness (is that a word?) related to R&D spend and number of patents are off the mark for financial institutions and other service based businesses (of which the UK economy has a quite a lot) and want to implement a range of measures related to training, organisational change and an industry-based “peer review in which company executives both help to define the innovation indicators and rate each other”. Hmm, well I reckon we’re all pretty innovative, don’t you agree chaps? Let’s give ourselves all a five out of five on that one.

I’m probably being hopelessly simplistic and niaive, but what’s wrong with some kind of vintage measure to assess innovation┬á– you know, % of sales from products/services launched in the last year. You might need to set up some criteria to help define the word “new”┬ábut I reckon that’s a lot better than some kind of dodgy old boys club peer review. I think output measures are┬ámost useful┬áwhen you’re trying to assess your true innovation impact, after all, if it doesn’t hit the bottom line, how can it really be innovation?

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