Innovation System

Measuring Performance


Innovation Metrics

The basis for informed, effective, and timely decisions

Vadim Kotelnikov

Vadim Kotelnikov, founder of 1000ventures - personal logo





Importance of Innovation Metrics

You cannot manage what you don't measure. Innovation metrics motivate managers and leaders across your organization to embrace innovation broadly and give it ongoing priority. Innovation metrics should be applied to the three dimensions of your innovation system strategic planning, process, and people.



Vadim Kotelnikov

Mediocre metrics tell you what's going on.
Better metrics tell you what's going on an why.
Best metrics tell you what's going on and why, and help you discover ways to makes things radically better.

Vadim Kotelnikov, founder of 1000ventures - personal logo Vadim


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Peter Drucker advice

What gets measured gets done.



Vadim Kotelnikov

Measure what you value, value your measurements, and analyze them to discover new ways to create a greater value.

Vadim Kotelnikov, founder of 1000ventures - personal logo Vadim


Business e-Coach   Innompic Games icon   Innoball



The adage "that which gets measured gets done" is no less true of the innovation process than any other. Once innovation goals are broadly communicated and rewards for achieving milestones are established, the pace of ideas to implementation accelerates. Sustainable growth is the result.

  Effective KPIs


Jack Welch advice business quotes

Simplicity applies to measurement also. Too often we measure everything and understand nothing.

Jack Welch



Michael Dell advice

We decided to reward employees around a matrix of Return on Invested Capital (ROIC), and growth.

Michael Dell

Dell Inc..



ROIC: Return on Invested Capital (ROIC) is a measure of how effectively you create shareholder value to your cost of capital. ROIC helps you identify best-performing businesses and those that aren't delivering the performance they should.

KPI: Effective Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) is a measurable value that demonstrates how effectively a company is achieving key business objectives.









The Jazz of Innovation

11 Practice Tips

  • Measure the progress to take a corrective action and accelerate the pace of ideas to implementation.... More


Three Primary Roles of Innovation Measurement1

  1. Guide: provides data for course corrections to create a winning product or service across the entire value proposition.

  2. Forewarn: forewarns you of problems before you hit them and illuminates potential alternatives.

  3. Inform: keeps others informed of the initiative's progress so they can coordinate their efforts.


Return on Innovation Investment (R2I)2

Some Areas of Application



Allocating resources

Compensating employees

Informing markets

Setting future goals



Lack of Systemic Assessment of Capabilities

"Surprisingly, with all the effort human resource professionals have put into performance appraisal, there are few systemic approaches for defining capabilities a firm needs to win and comparing them to what it has on hand."1

Pitfalls of the Five Classic Result Measures

The five classic result measures performance, quality, timing, financials, and development costs tell you what happened, but don't tell you why. "For example, an 8% drop in quarterly profits accompanied by a 10% rise in service costs does not tell a customer service team what its service technicians should do differently on their next call."1

The Power of Predictive Measures

Predictive measures examine the actions and capabilities that contributed to the situation. "Knowing that several new technician hires dropped the average skill level such that the average time spent per service call rose 15% and that, as a result, the number of late calls rose 10% - would explain why service costs had gone up and customer satisfaction and profits had gone down."1

Return on Investment in Innovators and Innovation (RoIII)


Innovation is People


Learning SWOT Questions

Gain Sharing


Return on Innovation Investment (R2I)

Since innovation by its very definition is intangible and not easily measured at the fuzzy front end (especially at the outset of a new product/service development program), "the logical place to begin is at the end at the Return on Innovation Investment (R2I). Measuring R2I makes the intangible tangible, thus providing managers, employees and the investment community with valuable information that can be used in a number of ways."3

"Like ROI return on investment R2I also shows return on investment, but only from new product innovation investments, not all investments. It looks at the firm's total profits from new products (cumulative new profits generated from new products launched) divided by its total expenditures for new products. This long-term ratio shows the firm's total return from new products over a three- to five-year period. This number has two uses:

  1. Descriptive: to demonstrate the overall effective contribution of new products.

  2. Predictive: to forecast or set goals for the organization.'3

Don't ignore the other measures and focus on R2I alone though. R2I is driven by all the other metrics, since all have an impact on the bottom line. Remember also, that for R2I measurement to work, the process must be applied consistently to all new products and services.

 Case in Point  Citigroup

At the heart of the Citigroup's Innovation Initiative was putting the right metrics in place. The Citibank Division already had an Innovation Index in place that measured revenues derived from new products but that was deemed insufficient. The special task force was challenged "to come up with more meaningful top-line metrics that could be  used to track progress and could be integrated into the balanced scorecard, and ultimately tied to compensation of senior managers. The team eventually settled on 12 key metrics. They included such things as: new revenue from innovation, success transfer of products from one country or region to another, the number and type of ideas in the pipeline (and expected new revenues), and time from idea to profit."2

Humorous Business Plans: How To Succeed In Innovation

Growth Risk: "The more you measure and motivate based on innovation, the less likely you will have a truly innovative culture." ~ Stephen Shapiro


 Discover much more in the


Return on Innovation Investment (R2I): Calculation Formula...

Measuring Your Innovation Gap...

Measuring Radical Innovation...

Five Classic Results Measures To Watch...

 Case in Point  Popular Measures Used in the Silicon Valley...

 Case in Point  Dell Computer Corporation...

 Case in Point  Intel...

 Case in Point  Skandia...

 Case in Point  Cisco Systems...

 Case in Point  Quantum...

 Case in Point  IBM...

 Case in Point  Cargill...


References and Resources:

  1. "Relentless Growth", Christopher Meyer

  2. "Driving Growth Through Innovation", Robert B. Tucker

  3. "Managing New Products", Thomas D. Kuczmarski

  4. "Direct from Dell", Michael Dell with Catherine Fredman

  5. "The Financial Implications of the Innovation Gap," Imginatik

  6. "Creating a Place for Innovation," Eileen Mullin