Building a repeatable model for innovation is a journey, not a trophy. An innovation department builds services and competencies across multiple disciplines – from research to communications and culture. And even with a dedicated innovation department, they must cooperate seamlessly with other parts of the business in order to deliver meaningful results on an ongoing basis.

But because developing innovation as an organizational skill set is a journey, there is a roadmap for the future. That’s why no matter which innovation assessment you use, from the BAIN maturity assessment to IdeaScale’s assessment toolkit, there are a few things that every model will measure:

Sophistication with Innovation Metrics

There are two ways of measuring innovation success (innovation inputs – like ideas and innovation outputs – like cost savings). Innovation programs that are just starting out generally have some high-level targets but are still working to figure out how to measure innovation on an ongoing basis across an entire portfolio of  work – from small scale, incremental improvements to large scale transformational offerings.


Is innovation the exclusive work of a few key individuals or does it permeate every level of an organization: from the frontlines of the organization to the top levels of leadership? This level of adoption generally changes both the capacity and output of an innovation program since the more people you can scalably invite into the process, the more likely you are to have divergent ideas and the ability to deliver on the best ideas.

Mindset and Tools

A great deal of innovation relies on creating a culture of innovation and this means empowering employees with training and tools that help to facilitate creative thinking and action. Do people understand customer empathy and design thinking, are they well versed in problem definition and pitching an idea? Do they have tools that make it easy to do all of this and does everyone understand how to use them? Any innovation assessment will ask about the tools and skillsets that you use as well as how widely they are adopted.

Collaboration and Process

All innovation programs require excellent decision making processes and criteria. Is that process siloed or is it collaborative? The more you can demonstrate repeatable collaboration across multiple disciplines, the more likely you will be able to effect large-scale change. Most maturity assessments will ask either about decision makers and cross-company understanding or who you’re inviting into the process and when.

To find out if you are an early stage innovator or an innovation trailblazer, visit IdeaScale’s complimentary innovation assessment toolkit and get recommendations for the future.

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.