What is Innovation Performance? How do Leaders Harness It?

A McKinsey Global Innovation Survey shows that “although 84% of executives agree that innovation is important to growth strategy, only 6% are satisfied with innovation performance.”

What is Innovation Performance?

Innovation performance is innovation that improves the significance, usefulness, or performance of products or services. It is innovation with a clear purpose. Innovation that accomplishes an intentional goal. This is innovation that hits the bulls-eye for product, service, or company improvement.

What’s the End Goal of Innovation Performance (the Vision)?

Foster a culture of innovation and innovative practices that drive results in process, product, and company improvement. In short, innovation should achieve a clear & articulate goal, or accomplish a larger company purpose, mission, or vision.


What is the Current Reality?

Most companies fall short. As mentioned, only 6% of executives are satisfied with innovation performance. Furthermore, 57% of companies say that fostering an internal culture of experimentation and innovation is their biggest innovation challenge. They feel innovation is on life support.

So, what’s the solution? Here are two simple steps everybody can take:

First – Use the Six-Step Process
Innovation, at its core, is meant to solve problems or seize opportunities. The six-step process is so effective because it (1) fully engages the innovative faculties of your leaders and full team and (2) harnesses their creative output into a clear plan of who will do what by when, with clear accountability. In other words this is a process that fully drives innovative performance. As s side benefit, with your team’s innovative faculties unleashed, you’ll find you’ve developed an innovative culture. To learn more about the Six-Step Process, go here.

Second, Learn to Effectively Brainstorm
Effective ideation through brainstorming is step four in the six-step process. When brainstorming, never criticize, include all ideas, engage all team members, and look at including experts and customers where relevant. Why? Consider the below example.

How many uses of salt are there?

If you take 30-45 seconds to individually brainstorm ways you can use salt, you’ll likely end up with 5-8 ideas (the average person). Get together with others and briefly share your ideas (in 45 seconds), and you’ll have 10-20 ideas. Ask an expert, such as a veteran in the salt industry, and you’ll see that list jump to 100+.  Consider the multiples of ideas as you progress:

  • No intentional brainstorming, 2-6 ideas (baseline)
  • 30-45 second individual brainstorm, 5-8 ideas (33% – 400% increase)
  • 45 second team sharing, 10-20 ideas (333% – 1,000% increase)
  • Bring in an expert, 100+ ideas (1,566% – 4,900% increase)

So you know, they say there are over 14,000 uses of salt!

That’s the power of creativity and innovation. Foster it. Harness it using the six-step process and see its power unleashed on your hairiest problems or biggest opportunities.

“Rather than studying the laws of cause and effect, people spend their lives being the effect and running from the cause.” Eugene J Martin

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