Look to the future and the past
When developing measures and improvement plans, it can be easy to focus solely on results. However, the organizations studied by APQC emphasize predictive factors as well as outcomes when developing measures. The organizations look both at leading indicators that provide a foundation for performance (such as employee training and environmental conditions) and the results of innovation processes (such as cycle time and customer satisfaction). Most importantly, the best-practice organizations allow their measures to change over time to meet enterprise needs. Frequently updated measures are balanced with consistent measures to enable longer-term trending.
The five best practices highlighted in this article focus on providing technology that facilitates innovation and developing flexible measures to evaluate success in the innovation of products and services. The 10 best practices for innovation identified by APQC affirm that there is a process to innovation. Best-practice organizations such as IBM, Mayo Clinic, and Kennametal provide concrete examples of the steps organizations can take to further develop their innovation processes.
Becky Partida is knowledge specialist with APQC, a member-based nonprofit and one of the leading proponents of benchmarking and best practice business research. Working with more than 500 organizations worldwide in all industries, APQC focuses on providing organizations with the information they need to work smarter, faster, and with confidence. Every day we uncover the processes and practices that push organizations from good to great.