Blog

A space for change makers.

How to Measure Open Innovation

06.03.2014
aussiegall http://www.flickr.com/photos/14516334@N00/286709039 (CC)

Open Innovation is an essential part of who we are, and we look for opportunities to be innovative in every job we do. Yet, for many organisations, the benefits of open innovation are not so clear. Sure, innovation sounds great, but what does it do for me and for my organisation?

Measuring Open Innovation

Innovation is both organic and messy, making it counterintuitive to measure. But, organisations need to be able to assess the value in innovation to justify contributing time and money to a new project. This poses a tough question: How can we measure the immeasurable? How can we measure open innovation? We have scoured the internet to find the best measurements out there for your Open Innovation initiatives:

Methods for measuring Open Innovation

Qualitative

  • Quality of ideas. Is there a good amount of competition or a few clear winners who are getting all the attention?
  • Quality of dialogue. How diverse, constructive, and creative are comments and ideas?
  • Diversity of participation. Are the only people participating in middle or upper management? How diverse are the skill sets of your participants? What technical or professional backgrounds are they coming from?

Tips on qualitative measuring: Engaging as a moderator to provide critique throughout the process is essential. You may also wish to appoint a diverse judging panel to assess the quality of ideas, or create your own criteria for measuring the quality of submissions.

Quantitative

  • Number of participants of ideas in a challenge. How many unique ideas did you get? How many of your employees participated in a brainstorming session?
  • Number of votes. Were people uninvolved in the idea creation process, still engaged in the process?
  • Number of comments. How often did people comment or participate in discussion? What was the ratio of contributors to 'lurkers'? What is the ratio of ideas to comments? -Diversity of participation. What is the cultural and socio-economic diversity of participants?

Tips on quantitative measuring: Sometimes the scope of a project is essential to its success, but do not get swept up in measuring the number of participants over the quality of contributions.

Results orientated

  • Positive branding. Is your company now seen as more innovative?
  • Increase in customer satisfaction in general or as a direct result of a new product or service.
  • Increase in financial performance. Are you now selling more products? For Non-Profits: Are you able to re-allocate your finances in a more effective way?
  • Increase in customer loyalty.
  • Reduced costs. Both time and monetary.
  • Sustainability of new projects. Are you able to implemenet the ideas from your open innovation sessions?
  • Strategic alignment. Are the ideas from open innovation sessions in line with your organisations visions and goals?
  • Increased feelings of ownership. Do participants now feel invested in the organisation? This can be tough to measure, but if you keep seeing participants again and again you are on the right track.

Can we really measure Open Innovation?

There are a variety of measurement tools for Open Innovation, yet it still remains tricky to capture smaller results. Some open innovation initiatives create successful projects with a clear benefit. Other projects produce subtler benefits, such as higher levels of employee engagement or trust.

So, should we even try to measure open innovation? Yes. It is important to keep track of new initiatives and see how they unfold over time and what effect it has on your organisation. However, if you do not see big results right from the start, do not dismiss open innovation. Smaller changes are harder to see, but can slowly grow and change the nature and success of your organisation.

Resources: