Measuring the Practice of Collaborative Innovation: What’s Your Story?

Filed Under Innovation

purple white people gears collab
Doug Collins

by
June 25, 2014

Last week, a Mindjet client and SpigitEngage user sought my view on measurement. He pursues his practice in a global, multi-brand enterprise, and wanted to know how he might measure his practice of collaborative innovation.

My perspective? We tell a story by how and what we measure, and we can weave that tale in many different ways. We start with a premise of how the practice might help an organization realize its potential for leadership. We try taking certain actions, pulling certain levers with certain people to see what happens. We face challenges. Some we anticipate and others surprise us. We find our way forward and resolve the plot.

A Blueprint for Success

The client and I explored how he might tell his story by applying the plot inherent in the blueprint for collaborative innovation (figure 1). (You can also download a PDF of the blueprint here.)

Figure 1: practice measurement in the context of the collaborative innovation blueprint
Measuring-the-Practice_D-Collins_fig1_600dpi

The blueprint starts with intent: What critical question — were we to pursue it together — might lead to authentic breakthroughs? This is where story begins. Then we move to space: who do we invite along with us on this journey? Then we move to flow: what happens when and with whom? Then we discover the resolution: What happens to the ideas and their contributors at the end of our tale? Do the good guys win?

Lastly, by way of epilogue, we have reflections. Did we advance the culture of innovation? Who showed leadership vision and courage at certain critical junctures? Did the story matter in a larger sense?

Each of these phases can have a set of factors and indicators attached to them: meta-commentary or a way to keep track of the plot.

(1) Success factors need context to make sense. Start with the story line for your practice.
(2) Indicators show rates of change by factor: something increases and decreases. We are not interested in what is, but what changes.

Your Call to Action

What do you think? How do you tell the story of your practice? How do you set factors and indicators to bring the plot to life? Let us know in the comments section.

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