How Do You Measure Innovation?
A very interesting post on Blogging Innovation got me thinking today. We measure profits, lead generation, market share, and other vital aspects of growth. But how do we measure innovation?
Saul Kaplan is interested in outcomes as a measurement. He puts it in terms of social value:
… the obvious question is this, if Boston, NYC, and San Francisco are the top U.S. innovation cities why are their poverty rates so high … I thought innovation was about delivering value and solving real world problems.
- They’re a trailing indicator – patents take five years on average
- Patents only address one of the three dimensions of innovation
Inventions – new products or methods that achieve their goal by original means – can be patented. But innovation – creating new value, new opportunities, new ways of solving problems – has 3 dimensions:
- Product innovation (the aforementioned invention) – designing a better product.
- Process innovation – improving the process by which value is created
- Promise innovation – creating new business models that deliver value
It’s much harder to measure all of these dimensions. But it’s a worthwhile challenge, and I’m glad Kaplan has spurred some thinking on the issue.
Rather than go into detail about the three dimensions here, I’ll talk about them in my next post.
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