A business school colleague recently said that academics, frustratingly, are more about process than outcomes, and, that, occasionally, the process results in favorable outcomes. When processes are designed and portrayed as efforts to create innovative outcomes with out results, it's called innovation theater. Some cynics call it strategic planning.
He was referring to organizational culture— the set of values, beliefs, and behaviors that determine “how things get done” in an organization. It is the job of leaderpreneurs to create, scale and sustain a organizational culture of innovation. That means you have to lead innovators, not just manage innovation systems.
But organizational innovation only happens when intrapreneurs i.e. employees with an entrepreneurial mindset trying to act like entrepreneurs, are able to work in and engage with a culture of innovation with the goal or creating stakeholder defined value through the deployment of innovation. There needs to be structure, process, culture, engagement and leaderpreneurs driving favorable outcomes. Here are some examples from NASA, Gore and DARPA
Most of us know toxic, anti-entrepreneurial work cultures when we work in them, or, maybe, contribute to them or even lead them. But, how do we know we are getting the results we want? Like the saying goes, you get what you measure . HINT: R and D spending is not a measure of innovation.
1. Program/rollout engagement KPIs.
2. Storytelling that celebrates champions and teams.
3. Behaviors that reflect change.
4. Financial, operational, sales and marketing metrics.
5. Economic development and technology transfer metrics.
6. Stakeholder conversion rates.
7. Employee engagement rates.
8. ROII (return on innovation investment).
9. Multiples of user defined value compared to competitive offerings or the status quo.
10. Burnout and turnover rates.
11. How do you define innovation and where are your results on the novelty-value matrix?
12. Are you following the 70-20-10 rule?
13. How much is your outcome contributing to the common good? Inequalities in income, wealth and power are kept to a minimum. Consumption of natural resources remains within the regenerative capacity of natural ecosystems and planetary boundaries. Current and future generations enjoy equal opportunities.
Or, just ask yourself one simple question. Would you recommend where you work as a place to innovate to a family member, friend or colleague? This cultural innovation net promoter score should tell the tale.
Arlen Meyers, MD, MBA is the President and CEO of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs on Twitter@ArlenMD and Co-Editor of Digital Health Entrepreneurship.