I’m familiar with the concept of metrics — I have written about and taught the use of metrics using the OKR framework — but Rafael Chaves Lopes of Trimaran opened my eyes to a new way to package innovation metrics. Want an approach that fits the way executives think? That aligns the organization? That turns a fuzzy abstract gut-check art form into something that feels much more rational? Rafa’s portfolio approach makes innovation management feel like re-balancing your financials every year. Here are three insights I took away:
Key Insight #1: Use metaphors from the financial world: Just as your stock portfolio is diversified and you rebalance it every year based on value and performance, your innovation portfolio should be diversified, and you should revisit it every year, based on an informed, consistent comparison.
Key Insight #2: To get comparability, use the same techniques to evaluate every project: It may not be possible to get hard financial data from every early stage idea — they simply aren’t ready for the market. But it’s entirely possible to insist that every project generate 10 user interviews about the problem to be solved. Use the same techniques to inform your gut for every project at each stage. And name those techniques from the beginning so everyone understands where decisions are coming from.
Key Insight #3: Measure the right evidence for the relevant hypothesis at each stage. If you’re validating whether the problem exists, don’t ask about MRR — that’s great evidence for a totally different problem!
Ready to put this framework into action? Rafael has a plan for you!