February 15, 2017

Innovation That Fits: Measurement, Adherence, and Corporate “Lifestyle” Changes

Today’s post is the final in the Innovation That Fits blog series, in which we have offered suggestions on how to purposefully produce a sustainable innovation strategy for your organization. So far, we have discussed the different. So far, we have discussed the different types of innovation, how to leverage team personas to support innovation, the drivers of an innovative culture, and how to develop innovation skillsets.  The final component needed is a plan for measurement, adherence, and corporate “lifestyle” changes.

Think back to the last diet or workout regime that you attempted.  Was it successful?  Did you stick with it?  The reason why so many diets don’t work is because they are focused on the short term and we often expect immediate benefits.  The fact is, you must change your lifestyle to see lasting and impactful results.  Working hard during the week only to let it fall apart over the weekend will put you back at square one.  It takes weeks, months, and sometimes years to perfect these lifestyle changes so they eventually become a habit and the change sticks.  A successful diet and workout routine should have clear goals, a well-defined plan, a timeline, success metrics, and a way of capturing and tracking data.  The combination of these factors will ensure that the lifestyle changes stay with you for the long run and you reach the “gorgeous end” referenced in the introductory post of the Innovation that Fits series.

Analogously, when implementing an innovation strategy across an organization, major corporate “lifestyle” changes will need to be made.  Whether it involves using a new technology, following a new process, or adhering to a new procedure, change is hard and people will naturally want to give up or revert to their old way of doing things.  To combat this relapse, establish clear success metrics, benchmarks, and a method of tracking upfront.  In addition, capture data early on and consistently so that you can use the insights to stay on track and/or adjust actions as needed. This post will offer additional suggestions to ensure you are prepared to tackle your next innovation.

I cannot emphasize enough the importance of capturing data that is useful and reflective of the outcome’sInnovation that Fits - exercise and nutrition data success (or failure).  Personally, when making lifestyle changes around diet or exercise, I see the best results when I am able to capture data about the food I consume, the exercise I perform, the water I drink, or even the amount of sleep that I get each night.  It doesn’t matter what technology is used (e.g. app, fitness watch, heart monitor, Excel spreadsheet, etc.) for tracking and measuring results; the important lesson comes from the insight that is available to me when I capture relevant data and use those insights to adjust my workout regime, understand my nutrient percentages, or realize that I don’t sleep enough.

The same need for data holds true from a corporate perspective.  You must have a method of tracking results to ensure that the actions taken align with the desired outcome.  Making assumptions or diving into change without a way of measuring success means you do not have a sustainable, results-driven innovation strategy.  The following requirements should be taken into consideration to ensure you have a way of measuring the performance of your innovation:

  • Clearly define the metrics and benchmarks against which you’ll measure your results. If you want to understand the value that was added by the innovation, you need to determine how the success or failure of the initiative will be measured.  Additionally, having clearly defined goals will help you “sell” the change to other stakeholders in the organization.
  • Ensure your organization has the data architecture to answer your most important business questions. It’s not enough to have metrics and benchmarks if you do not have the data needed to measure success.  The data you have at your disposal should be considered prior to pursing a major organizational change.
  • Determine the frequency of reporting needs. Depending on the innovation you are pursuing, some insights should be analyzed on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.  In addition, having regular visibility into the innovation’s progress, will help you adjust your strategy and address any potential concerns or hiccups along the way.  Defining this timeline may be a factor to consider when choosing between a revolutionary or evolutionary innovation
  • Leverage technology to tell your innovation story. There are a variety of reporting and data visualization technologies on the market today (e.g. Tableau, IBM Cognos, Google Analytics, etc.).  The solution should not only meet your reporting needs, but help you tell the innovation story to your team, to stakeholders across the organization, and externally to those outside of your organization.  Because the business intelligence space is large and at times overwhelming, do not hesitate to reach out for help.  Covalent Marketing has a plethora of experience in this space and can help point you in the right direction for getting the most out of your data.
  • Don’t underestimate the importance of capturing feedback/data directly from the end users. When we think of reporting and insights, we often only consider the utilization of data.  While this is a major factor for measuring success, it is not the only way of determining the innovation’s value-add.  Talk to your people!  Be sure there is a clear and consistent way of capturing feedback directly from the end users.  They are the ones who are living the change every day and can provide you with invaluable insight to ensure the change sticks long-term.

Regardless of the change that you plan to implement in the future, keep in mind that adoption is a corporate lifestyle change that directly impacts the success of your innovation.  Bringing together the important factors discussed throughout the Innovation That Fits blog series will ensure you are well on your way to implementing a successful innovation strategy in your organization.