Innovation Metrics: What You Measure is What You Get

October 13, 2023

This recent webcast features Simon Hill, CEO of Wazoku, Stuart Laws, Assistant Head of the Defence Innovation Unit at the UK’s Ministry of Defence, and Scott Kirsner, CEO of InnoLead, discussing what people are currently getting wrong when it comes to innovation metrics, how to put it right (including how best to answer that thorny ROI question), and why innovation data you can trust is so critical in today’s dynamic business environment.

Laws opened by talking about one of the biggest misconceptions around metrics: “I think probably the biggest misconception is you’ve got to measure everything,” he said. “Because if you measure everything, you’ll understand everything. Whereas actually, that just puts you into the realm of being data rich and knowledge poor, and you don’t know what to do.”

Hill said that gathering softer “innovation theater type metrics” can be a distraction — and not matter to senior executives in the end. “If we’re here to increase revenue, increase profit, increase market share, and maybe a couple of other things, as a company… That’s what we’re trying to drive. We have to be able to tie the [innovation] activities that we’re doing in some way, shape, or form [to] all of that. And yes, you don’t want to measure it too soon. But you can’t not measure it at all, just because you don’t want to measure it too soon.”

In a poll of the audience, Kirsner asked about the maturity level of partipants’ innovation metrics, from non-existent to optimized, and then compared it to survey data InnoLead gathered in 2021.

Hill said it is important to “establish structural visibility and consistency, and ensure comprehensive benchmarking. The best testament to that will be [that] we come back in a year, ask the same [poll] question, and there’s more than 7 percent of people [who] have got some level of optimization and structure. And ideally, more than 7 percent are using the same metric this year than they used last year to think about this as well.”

Kirsner cautioned that financial metrics like “growing market share, revenue, those business metrics that the C-Suite cares about — it can be very dangerous not to capture those over time,” especially when new leaders come into the C-Suite and want to see what the innovation program has been delivering.

You can download the slides shown in this webcast, along with the poll results, below. Also available is the chat transcript.

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