Tuesday, October 15, 2019

How do you measure progress of your Innovation work ?

Most Innovation teams (atleast the ones that I have led) typically have hackers in the majority. I dislike generalizing things but by and large what I have observed is that hackers tend to fall in love with solution. Now this doesn't necessarily mean that they don't love the problem but it's just that the focus on solutions just keeps them interested and going.

Irrespective of whether the teams are led by hackers or hustlers, one of the hardest things in managing Innovation work, especially the ones in early stages, is determining a way to measure the progress. Early stage innovation projects are the ones that are at the ideation phase or haven't achieved product-market fit.

Lean Start-up approach (that I normally follow in running Innovation programs) suggests an effective framework for solving the progress/measurement problem. There are several approaches that I have successfully applied, part of which you can read here.

Recently, I got an additional perspective on measurement of progress. The insight I received was while reading the book- 'Jugaad 3.0- Hacking the Corporation to make it fast, fluid and frugal'. Here is the related excerpt:
"Intuit Founder Scott Cook is a big believer in what he calls "love metrics"- which might sound soft but can actually be assessed with some precision.
- How much do people actually love idea of the product ?
- Did they recommend it to their peers ?
- How often do they come back ?
These kinds of measures can be more than sufficient to confirm a team's hypothesis or prove the need for a course correction."
Notice that the questions suggested by Scott Cook aren't ground-breaking, neither do it belong to 'never heard of before' category but what stands-out in these metrics is the focus on empathy. The fact that Scott chose to call this "love metrics" make it look so distinctive. After all, aren't we all in the business of delighting the end-user, in the endeavor of making users fall in love with our offerings.
That's why I really loved the insight Scott shared here.

The book also quotes a blogpost from Vijay Anand, also from Intuit Labs. Vijay says:
"When the team asks me if something is a good idea, I ask them for their unit of one- the one customer their product will delight. And once that works, I tell them to bring me 100. When 100 delighted customers actively use a product, I know there's something to it."
Profound. Isn't it ?

So, what's the unit of one  for your idea ? And what love metrics are you tracking to measure their happiness with your offering ?

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