Igniting Innovation: Tips, Sparks and Ideas for Acting on Innovation

Is Your Innovation System Out of Control: The 4 types of systems I see most often

Posted by Greg Lemmon on Apr 12, 2016 10:09:15 AM

Recently we launched a new innovation pipeline dashboard that summarizes metrics for our clients. Within these metrics we create controlinnovation metrics and measurement
charts which enable us to tell if the subsystems are in control or not.

Here are four types of systems I see and what leadership can do about them: 

  1. The System Is to Do Nothing. This chart looks like a series of all zeros. It is time for change, leadership just needs to get people started doing something. It doesn’t matter where you start, but innovation won’t happen without a change.
  2. The System has One Special Cause. This looks like the nothing chart except there is one month where something happened and then it slowly went back to normal. This is typical of newer clients who just need to get in the routine of doing more, which is only possible if they stop other work to make time for innovation. Leadership should re enforce the attitude that innovation is an ongoing and not a one time event by scheduling more innovation sessions and free up time for employees to work on innovation. 
  3. The System is Out of Control with Variance. These charts have data going up and down each month. While this is the least common type of chart I see, it is still something leadership can improve with consistency of purpose. Basically, don’t fiddle with the system and unnecessarily make changes. 
  4. The In Control System. This is the goal. The chart shows consistent activity that will lead to success with innovation. This is the time to think about changes to the system that allow your company to consistently do more. The most common thing done is getting more people involved by educating and adding new team members. 

The best way for leadership to improve innovation is to improve the system.

Contact me to learn more about how we are measuring innovation as a system and see a demo of our metrics pipeline.

Contact Greg


Topics: innovation, strategy, Metrics

Greg Lemmon

Written by Greg Lemmon

Greg joined the team in 2008 after graduating from Northern Kentucky University. Since then he conducted over 3,000 sales forecast for new innovations, innovated how we teach research as well as developed and programed an online system for rapid research. Greg is passionate about researching innovation and developing new to the world systems to make innovation easier for organizations.

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