How to Assess Your Innovation Fitness

How to Assess Your Innovation FitnessThere are two types of innovation fitness assessments that you should perform in your organization. Organizational fitness assessments help you understand the health of your innovation strategies as well as whether or not your culture, leadership, employees, and stakeholders are set up for innovation success. Program readiness assessments help evaluate your processes, resources, and goals.

Why Innovation Fitness Assessments Are Important

Innovation fitness assessments can help you understand areas of strength and weakness. Understanding areas where you need improvement is vital to helping you predict the challenges you may face as you help your organization move toward more regular innovation practices. Knowing your organization’s strengths help you focus on solutions, put the right people in the right positions, and send a positive innovation message as you move forward.

Assessments also establish a baseline to which progress can be measured. Once you understand where you are, you can determine if you’re making progress in the areas that provide either positive quantitative or qualitative returns.

Assessing Your Organizational Innovation Fitness

When it comes to organizational innovation fitness, you’ll need to consider:

  • Open Culture: Is your staff willing and used to trying new processes and increasing efficiency?
  • Leadership: Does your organization’s leadership truly support innovation?
  • Employee Engagement: Are employees engaged in innovation?
  • Skills and Mindset: Is your staff aware of your organization’s innovation goals and vision?
  • Collaboration: Do departments work cross-functionally?
  • Emerging Trends: Is there an awareness of the trends within your industry?
  • Innovation Targets: Do you have targets created for core, adjacent, and transformative innovation projects?
  • Accountability: Are leaders and team members held accountable?
  • Implementation: Are ideas implemented?
  • Open Organization: Do you nurture external relationships with stakeholders and potential contributors?

Is Your Program Ready?

Once you’re ready to innovate as an organization, it’s time to make sure you have a program that’s ready as well. Assess if you’re program is ready with these questions:

  • Existing Initiative: Do you have an existing innovation project or initiative?
  • Problem Defined: Do you know what problems need to be investigated or improved?
  • Timeframe: Do you have a timeframe for launching your innovation project?
  • Resources: Do you have a budget for the needed software, team, implementation, and funding? Is it included in departmental budgets or a separate innovation budget?
  • Goals: Have you defined your desired outcome?
  • Workflow: Have you defined your innovation process and workflow?
  • Call for Ideas: Have you created an idea or proposal submission process?
  • Communication Plan:  Do you have a communication plan for your innovation projects?
  • Criteria: Do you know how you’ll evaluate the success of your project?
  • Metrics: Do your metrics evaluate both earnings and learnings?

In any physical fitness program, there’s an initial assessment that lets you know where you’re starting from. It may be hard to face, but honesty and clear-headed thinking is vital to success. The same is true for your organization as you move forward into innovation fitness.

As you consider your innovation health this year, our newest e-book, Innovation Fitness: Compete for the Future, will help you assess your current state and establish plans for the future.

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