With the rise of the innovation department, numerous organizations are focusing their attention on their company’s ideation rate. A good ideation rate generally predicts other positive company health indicators: profitability, higher employee retention rates, reported customer success, but there’s another innovation health indicator that we think organizations should pay attention to: their implementation rate.

Implementation rate is an indicator of a company’s overall innovation health. It’s the number of implemented ideas in an innovation program out of the number of selected ideas in an innovation program. This shows a company’s ability to deliver on ideas that you already know have promise, because the faster the pace of change accelerates, companies will define their success not by having the best ideas, but by their ability to adapt, test, and launch new ideas with efficiency. After all, in a quote oft-attributed to Charles Darwin (although – fun fact – it’s actually from Leon C. Megginson who was summarizing Darwin’s Origin of Species) “it is not the most intellectual of the species that survives; it is not the strongest that survives; but the species that survives is the one that is able best to adapt and adjust to the changing environment in which it finds itself.” This is also true of companies – performance, profitability, retention rates – these things alone don’t matter – it’s the ability to change that will help a company stand the test of time maintain performance, profitability, and beyond.

So for companies to start tracking how well they can adapt to change and improve their capacity to innovate, they need to be able to separate and report on innovation health in at least three stages:

Ideation is at the top of the innovation funnel. This is where a great deal of creative brainstorming and knowledge sharing happens. It’s a period of intense divergence and possibility and it’s not the time to start whittling away or using critical thinking – it’s a time to be inventive and whimsical even. Ideation health is defined by freedom and volume. But all that changes in the subsequent stages.

Incubation is when ideas reach thresholds for evaluation and development. Maybe they’re popular, maybe they align with existing agendas, maybe they help a company keep up with the competition – however ideas enter this stage, they enter a period of transformation as teams conduct more research, test concepts and start to become larger and more well-rounded concepts. Some ideas fail or have to be parked for a later time and some ideas are selected for a larger-scale roll-out

Implementation is the final phase. When selected ideas that show some promise finally end in adoption. This means assigning real resources, communicating about this new idea and sometimes even commercialization. Closing the gap between ideas that have been selected for roll-out and launch is the best way for a company to differentiate itself when it comes to innovation.

To learn more about implementation rate and some benchmarks using IdeaScale data, download our implementation rate infographic here.

About the author

Rob Hoehn is the co-founder and CEO of IdeaScale: the largest open innovation software platform in the world. Hoehn launched crowdsourcing software as part of the open government initiative and IdeaScale’s robust portfolio now includes many other industry notables, such as EA Sports, NBC, NASA, Xerox and many others. Prior to IdeaScale, Hoehn was Vice President of Client Services at Survey Analytics.



Featured image via Unsplash.