Sunday, October 19, 2014

An Innovator’s Scoreboard

See-through Innovators from the heart and mind.

Innovation is about transforming novel ideas into business values. Innovation score means an attempt to measure innovation; so the factors included in any scoring system will depend on what you are looking to evaluate (individual vs. organization? potential vs. past performance?), this is usually done through innovation indicators. What’re the pros and cons of measuring innovation and score innovators?

Score company as an innovator: First, you have to clarify what/who you are referring to by 'innovators': are they individual innovators (people) or companies/organizations/ conglomerates. How would you calculate an Innovator's Score? Some factors that could be used to measure innovation score within a company could be resources invested (human and financial), employees motivation (Top management encouragement and support, challenging activities being involved, level of autonomy given), number of projects/initiatives being launched, and organizational culture (Mission, vision, structure, networking collaboration with partners), etc.
Innovation capacity vs. innovation performance: At the corporate level, there's one crucial clarification: Are you intending to evaluate the capacity/potential to innovate, or the level of past innovation (more of a performance measure)? So the additional indicators may include things like: 
- Willingness to accept the risk of failure 
- Creative/analytical capacity (ideation/evaluation) 
- Regulatory and/or industry influences 
- Level of customer interaction 
- The physical orientation of an office and its collaborative/meeting/etc. spaces 
- The diversity of educational/professional backgrounds 

Score individuals as innovators: Focus on individual capabilities and potential to innovate. The indicators to assess the intrinsic capacity of individuals such as: 
- interdisciplinary skills and knowledge 
- plasticity (fast learning) 
- social linkage skills & competencies 
- personality (openness to experience, tolerance of ambiguity, personal initiatives ) 
- cognitive ability & style 
- intellectual engagement 
- creative problem-solving
- ability to identify patterns 
- ability to make unusual connections 
- the tendency to constantly question the status quo 
- capacity to adapt 
- emotional intelligence (risk-taking)
- willingness to accept feedback and/or tenacity to refuse it
- Self-awareness (recognition of one's strength and weaknesses)

Five behavioral traits to measure innovator’s score
1). How Anxious, irritable, temperamental, and moody are they. 
2). How self-confident, dominant, active and excitement seeking person are they. 
3). How much intelligence and curiosity do they have? 
4). How helpful, generous, and cooperative are they?
5). How dependable, organized and hardworking are they?

An innovator’s scoreboard or rainmaker index: The industry study showed that the successful innovation was mainly driven by specific personality types which they measured and called the Rainmaker Index. The other key finder is that it is the collective attributes of the dynamic situation more than the individual a priori assessment that will indicate chances of success in a shorter time frame than current methods. That means, as long as the experiences and skills are adequate, it is mainly the business or organizational environment that is the driver of successful innovation efforts. Hence, it’s necessary to measure culture to make such an assessment more objectively as well.

Making measurement is both art and science, measuring innovation and innovator is even more challenging. Unfortunately, most innovation indicators are flawed and present limitations. Also, the innovation indicators vary depending on who is doing the measuring, and how they are measuring, it’s contextual, from individual to culture to organization as a whole, the well-designed scoreboard shall motivate innovative actions, and inspire innovators to continue to push the business and the world forward.


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