Measuring Innovation???

2010/08/30

 

I came across a brilliant post, http://bit.ly/aDyxJw , that talks about the importance of killing a lot of bad and good ideas, so that only the best of ideas see the light of the day. It also goes on to ask how many ideas were killed and how many people were disappointed because of it.

But, on the hindsight, is it really worth tracking the ideas that came out and the number that was killed? Being a manager I’m a big fan of quantification of almost everything. But then, is tracking the ideas that were killed a worthwhile investment of resources? When the organization as a whole believes in a culture of innovation and also fosters it, I feel the whole process of brainstorming will take care of this. With resource optimization being the mantra of today’s business, the whole point of taking the best idea forward will, in my opinion, be taken care of by itself.

When we are in a group brainstorming the next big product/marketing/whatever idea, I guess the excitement the group as a whole shows to one particular idea will indicate the strength of it. But in this process, is tracking “the not the best of ideas” worth the effort at all? OK, people with lots of good, but not the best ideas, will be disappointed. But, if the most logically thinking part of the group gets excited by an idea, I guess it would make better sense to put the most vocal and willing members of the group into its execution. This way, we ensure that the best idea gets the right resources, and not many people complain.

That brings us to the most important point, how do we identify the best idea? In my opinion, that’s a fairly simple exercise, but requires a lot attention from the leader/moderator. It might be useful for us to look out for that idea, which makes the most people talk, after a brief spell of speechlessness – the spell of speechlessness is as important as the discussion time. Then, look out for the harder parameters like:

  • Potential market size
  • Feasibility of execution
  • Availability of talent
  • Return on Investment
  • Availability of that product/feature in the market
  • ……… (Please fill the blanks with whatever I have missed here).

Once the data points also paint a rosy picture, go for it with all that you have.

What do you think? Do you defer about the quantification of innovation part? Or you think I’m being highly simplistic about the identification part? Looking forward for more thoughts on this!!!

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