How to Measure Innovation

In some companies, you’ll hear senior executives spout this tired mantra: “Innovation is everyone’s job.” When that happens, head for the exit.
Now, the British are going to tell us how to measure innovation. The National Endowment for Science, Technology & the Arts (NESTA), a nonprofit organization that promotes innovation, wants to create a new index, one that will be industry-specific… blah, blah, blah.
I agree with their premise that traditional methods of measuring innovation, such as the amount of money thrown at R&D, don’t tell the entire story.
But their idea of implementing an industry-based “peer review in which company executives both help to define the innovation indicators and rate each other” is a joke.
Let’s see. Let’s ask the CEOs of Exxon, Chevron, Shell ,and BP to rate their industry on innovative approaches to solving the energy problem. Not funny, is it?
Clayton Christensen says the same thing in this article about creating new value networks.
So what should we measure? How about looking at results?
Can we identify disruptive entrants in an existing industry ecosystem? (Shameless plug: yes, we can – with Ecosystem IQ)
Hey, at least the British are trying. Better than our lame Department of Commerce.
BTW, BusinessWeek does have a Global Innovation Index worth looking at, but again, they’re looking at the establishment, the industry giants that are investing in innovation.
What I want to see is the game-changers. Where’s the next successful car company coming from? Is it Tata or Tesla?

2 Replies to “How to Measure Innovation”

  1. So what are some real ways to measure innovation?
    Do we look for companies w/ headstrong CEOs who produce best-selling products?
    Or do we look at idea generation?
    Or open-innovation?

  2. I would argue that the more you spend on R&D the less innovative you become.
    These large research budgets are often wasted…

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