- Although more than two-thirds of decision makers believe employees are more innovative in the office, employees are less likely to agree, according to a survey conducted by Vanson Bourne and commissioned by VMware. Fewer than 3 in 5 employees believe they are more innovative in the office.
- The more flexible the workstyle policy, the more likely it is that an organization measures innovation levels. More than 4 in 5 office-only organizations track innovation, but 97% of remote organizations track innovation, according to the report which surveyed 5,300 IT and HR decision makers and employee-level respondents.
- Most often, businesses use customer satisfaction, improved performance, increased revenue and customer acquisition metrics to measure innovation, according to the report.
Every business wants to innovate, and every tech leader wants an innovative staff. It can lead to businesses better serving customers or internal staff, increased revenue or options to scale. But even if everyone is rallying around the same idea, innovation can be interpreted differently based on company culture, business goals and resources.
While a non-profit organization might commend staff for a new partnership program idea, other businesses might want something more novel. It just depends on what the business needs, and the likelihood that they can execute on the idea.
Tech leaders wanting to improve innovation levels should start with the end goals in mind, according to Tori Paulman, senior director analyst at Gartner.
“Ultimately, you want to demonstrate business value, so you need to be clear on what you are innovating for — are you pursuing incremental innovation in terms of improvements to your existing business? Or are you looking for radical moonshot innovation in entirely new business models?” Paulman said in an email.
Selecting a combination of metrics is also important for getting the full picture. Objective goals, such as new revenue streams, cost savings and increased output only tell part of the story.
Subjective measurements can take into account the amount of time given to employees to innovate and how much risk the organization is willing to take.
Paulman suggested ranking subjective measurements on a 1-10 scale. If done so regularly, the organization can have a better understanding of its baseline, according to Paulman
While businesses might believe that employees are more innovative in the office, there is not a lot of data to support that hypothesis
“The first step for organizations that want to become more effective innovators is to interrogate their beliefs about the ‘where’ and ‘when’ of innovation efforts,” Paulman said. “Most of us have our best, most creative ideas when we are disengaged from [work] – the shower, a run, meditating, walking the dog.”