Innovation and the M Word

“If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.”

Quotes on Twitter are popular for retweets, but I have found that these simple words written by Peter Drucker have generated much more than retweets. They also generate meaningful discussion about the "M Word," which is metrics.

Measuring innovation is tricky business, like nailing jello to the wall. There are objective inputs and outputs that can and should be measured. There are also subjective aspects, like mindset and culture, that are more difficult to quantify, but just as important. However, if it's possible to nail jello to the wall, it’s also possible to measure it.

Innovation metrics are not the same as the metrics commonly used in the established business. In fact, rather than helping innovation to flourish, measuring innovation with the same metrics as an established business can actually hinder innovation.

We need some standard metrics for innovation. In the meantime, we can describe what innovation metrics should and should not measure.

In a recent article for the Harvard Business Review entitled, “What Big Companies Get Wrong About Innovation Metrics,” Scott Kirsner outlined how most businesses tend to measure innovation, and how they get it wrong.

In case you're measuring how many articles you read about innovation metrics, here's another:

Measurements, Metrics, and Innovation

What Big Companies Get Wrong About Innovation Metrics