Metrics: Measure your productivity

Most executives believe that innovation will enable their company to stand out in the marketplace, especially in this economy. Yet, executives do not develop the strategies and execute the follow through necessary to create their innovation environment.

How do you measure that innovation has been optimized? Especially for use as a performance assessment tool? It is not as simple as the perecentage of sales from products introduced within the last five years. Each industry has its on uptake pattern for new products and each category of product has its own lifecycle.

Decisions on product development to proceed to market is based on getting the right information to the right persons at the right time. Optimum information flow requires open communication. One or two key metrics will provide focus, and other metrics help to define other areas that need help.

Using sports as an analogy, the final score of the game is what really matters as the focal point to measure performance, whereas other metrics can be used to illuminate areas needing improvement. In other situations, the obvious problems will arise without the use of metrics.

Clearly,innovation must be driven from the top executive on down throughout the organization. Where do you start? Start in a small part of the organization, assess, fine tune, and modify to optimize for the whole organization.

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