Today if your hear the name Apple, Tata Motors, 5 Guys or Pixar your first thought is “I just don’t like what they do. I Love what they do.” You; laughed during Cars, were awe inspired by the iPod. drove 15 miles to get that burger, and were fascinated by a profitable $2000 mass-produce car. You also didn’t just experience them once… Cars 2, iPad, second third fourth burger, Range Rover. They have brought and defined Innovation for our generation and possible the next several.
Does this mean you have to be innovative to be like Apple or 5 Guys or to compete against them? Absolutely. Just ask Palm, GM, In n Out Burgers or Disney Studios. In fact, based on a survey from the Conference Board, innovation is the #4 priority for CEOs in 2011. Innovation impacts your business in more ways than you can possibly imagine. Bill Gates once said “Microsoft’s top 10% is impactful, but if I lose my 20 most innovative software engineers Microsoft will go out of business within 12 months.”
You can’t quantify innovation by looking at a person or giving them a test. Innovation sometimes only happens when the right-mix of people get together in a team setting. So how do you identify your “innovators”? Does your company have enough of them? Does the innovation increase profitability?
You can determine who the innovators are by determining the following;
- How much does a person or team produce? - Does this team or person deliver on what ever they are given or is it hit and miss?
- Did they produce a new thing? – Is it a completely never before seen product, drug or process? Was it the next generation of something? Was it something that was a copy of another product?
- What impact did it have on the market? – Did what they produce change the market place? Did it displace a competitor? Did it define a new category of products? Did it make the company better? Do analysts, customers or the press say what was produced was innovative?
- What was the profit contribution? – How much profit did it bring the company? Did it raise the stock price? Innovation is important to success. But it shouldn’t cost so much that you never recoup the costs.
- Do they repeat? – Anybody can get lucky once. But delivering innovative things 2, 3 or 4 times in a timely manner means the producers are Innovators.
With this you can then identify and put policies in place to further foster your innovators or have a business case to hire them.
A lack of innovators within a company may not bankrupt it. But as we have seen time and time again a company with the right amount of innovators will make more profit, have a more engaged workforce and take the customers of those that don't.