Ideo Studied Innovation In 100+ Companies–Here’s What It Found
How do you measure “innovation?” It’s something that every organization seems to be after–just look at AT&T’s Innovation Pipeline, Sephora’s Innovation Research lab, and the University of Pennsylvania’s punny Pennovation Center–but it’s extremely hard to quantify.
The global design firm Ideo set out to answer this question by studying the company’s 26-year archive of projects that focused on clients’ internal team dynamics, as well as external sources focused on innovation (including Fast Company‘s annual Most Innovative Companies lists). Defining what innovation meant across many different companies was complex, but ultimately, Ideo found that the most important element is the organization’s ability to adapt and respond to change. In the end, Ideo identified six basic vectors that it says are instrumental to an innovative, adaptive company: Purpose, experimentation, collaboration, empowerment, looking out (i.e. staying informed about what’s happening in the industry), and refinement (the ability to successfully execute new ideas).
Guided by these six principles, Ideo created a survey aimed at teams within larger organizations that would help team members understand how they’re performing. Called “Creative Difference,” the survey invites every member of a team to give feedback about their experiences and work. Then, Ideo provides them with a full analysis of the team’s performance through an online dashboard, including feedback on tangible ways to become more innovative (and the ability to track progress over time, if they take the survey multiple times per year). For instance, the metrics might show that a team is very purpose-driven, but lacking in collaboration; or a team might score highly on experimentation but less so on refinement.
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