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As innovation is a necessity for any organization today, the ability to assess and measure the progress and impact of your innovation efforts might be a true source of competitive advantage. This in-depth article offers fresh experiences, best practice and insights from how a number of multinational companies within the MedTech, telecom and manufacturing industries are working with establishing and implementing innovation measurement programs.

The article will provide you with a framework which will guide you and your team in establishing an innovation measurement program. Once a suitable innovation measurement program has been implemented the innovation capabilities of your team, as well as the confidence from both internal and external stakeholders will increase.

The article will enable you to:

  • get a basic understanding of both the problems and solutions connected to creating and implementing an innovation measurement program in your organization
  • achieve improved management and team discussions by providing a common ground and a common language for creating and implementing an innovation measurement program
  • better reflect on the structure of your company in the context of innovation and how to take action to create organizational processes that improve the innovation capabilities
  • prepare for the challenges in making your organization more innovative
  • identify the vital steps that need to be considered when designing and implementing an innovation measurement program in your organization

Executive summary

Experience constantly tells us that “What is measured, gets done!”. However when it comes to innovation the measurement indicators available are rarely useful. The classical indicators are made for follow-up at best (e.g. number of patents or ideas) while indicators used for driving innovative activities are absent. When developing products and services for a marketplace it is important for any organization to create innovative features and solutions in order to achieve an advantage over its competitors.

This in-depth article focuses on the assessment of innovation capability at team level in relation to the processes which takes place before actual product development projects are decided; when new business models, technological opportunities and intellectual property rights are created and investigated.

A measurement framework called MINT (Measuring Innovation Capability in Teams) is provided, focusing on four areas: innovation elicitation, selection, impact and ways of working. For each area, candidate measurement indicators are provided to be used as inspiration in the development of a tailored measurement program.

It is important to characterize not only what is easily measurable, but also aspects which are inherently subjective and difficult to describe quantatively. Candidate measurement indicators thus include examples of both hard numbers and soft, subjective judgments. The MINT framework has been developed mainly for teams responsible for innovation within various organizations but may also be of inspiration for departments and divisions aiming for increased innovation capabilities.

About the authors

Fredrik NilssonFredrik Nilsson is Associate Professor at the Department of Design Sciences, Lund University. For the past 5 years he has researched Innovation capabilities in high-tech industries and healthcare.. He is also responsible for two Master’s courses; Innovation Engineering and Healthcare Innovation and Management.

Björn Regnell is Björn RegnellProfessor at the Department of Computer Science, and Vice Dean of the Faculty of Engineering at Lund University. He is an active researcher into Empirical software engineering with a focus on the early phases of software product development, including requirements engineering for software-intensive systems. He is currently leading investigations which focus specifically on software innovation and software product management.

Tobias Larsson is Tobias LarssonProfessor, and Head of Division at the Division of Functional Product Development, Luleå University of Technology. His interest is in Innovation regarding product/service systems and his research is conducted in collaboration with manufacturing industries in the aerospace and automotive sectors.

Sofia Ritzén is Sofia RitzénAssociate Professor at the Department of Machine Design, the Royal Institute of Technology. Her research area is that of organizing and managing product development processes with a focus on effectiveness and innovativeness. Sofia is also the director of PIEp, Product Innovation Engineering program, a national venture for increased innovation capability in people and organizations.