At the end of my post “How real is your innovation”, i added a list of 29 typical idea killers that should be eradicated from a company culture claiming to be innovative.
A couple of days ago, i came across #30:
“And what are your metrics ?”
Those Idea Killers really cut-out the last bit of creative juice and energy from the poor guy daring to stick out his neck and coming up with a new idea.
It’s now a real coincidence – really, this was not planned and is pure synchronicity – that Adam Hartung from The Phoenix Principle posts a blog item called Overcoming metrics to grow – Motorola, Xerox, Kodak, Six Sigma, TQM, Lean.
You can read the full article for yourself, but as usual i will select some salient points:
Measurements are good control tools. Measurements can help force a focus on short term improvements. But measurements, and the concomitant focus,reduces an organization’s ability to look laterally.
They lose sight of information from lost customers, from small customers, from fringe customers and fringe competitors
Measurement often leads to obsession, and a
Defend & Extend behavior
Regular readers of my blog will have noticed my preference for radical innovation and innovation beyond the core.
Measurements are created when a business is doing well. In the Rapids. Like Kodak during the 1960s and Xerox in the 1970s.
Measurements are structural Lock-ins that help "institutionalize" the behavior which makes the Success Formula operate most effectively
And they help growth.
But they do nothing for
recognizing a market shift, and
when new technology comes
along they stand in the way
That’s why a powerful Six Sigma or Total Quality Management (TQM) or Lean Manufacturing project can help reduce costs short term, but become an enormous barrier to innovation over time when markets shift. These institutionalized efforts keep people doing what they measure, even if it doesn’t really add much incremental value any longer.
To overcome measurement Lock-ins we all have to use scenario planning. Scenarios can help us see that in a future marketplace, a changed marketplace, measuring what we’ve been doing won’t aid success.
And even more so if the organization is not capable of keeping itself honest in measuring what his has been doing and/or recognizing past failures. If that would happen, the whole exercise of looking back into the past is just futile and a marketing exercise. Not an honest assessment.
And because we don’t yet know what the future market will really look like, we can’t just swap out existing metrics for something different.
As we proceed to do new things, in White Space, it’s about learning what the right metrics are – about getting into the growth Rapids – before we tie ourselves up in metrics.
I have a question for you:
In the weeks to come, our Innovation Team goes (like any other department) will go through a Lean exercise ? I am really interested in maximizing the knowledge of the Lean Navigators and to make the best out of it.
So, to help my team’s preparation for Lean, I have the following questions:
- Who has experience with Lean and Innovation ?
- How can Lean help us delivering better Innovation ?
- How can we avoid that Lean will become a barrier to innovation
Thanks in advance for sharing your experiences.