Most talk about innovation reminds me of the 90's pop band Milli Vanilli, who in 1990 was stripped of their Grammy for lip syncing. Anyone can say they're innovative and everyone knows that they need to be innovative, but simply paying lip service to the word "innovation" is hardly enough to make it so. You have to make a conscious investment in innovation for it to pay off repeatedly. Anything less is just innovation karaoke!

So, wouldn't it be nice if you at least knew how well you were doing in comparison to other companies when it comes to fostering innovation? Well, you can, and it will only take you about three minute at most to do so.

Here's how.

Your Innovation Quotient

Nearly 20 years ago I began looking at the behaviors and capabilities needed to sustain innovation. I desperately wanted to find out what it was that made an organization innovative because so much of the buzz around innovation seems to simply anoint certain companies with the vision and charisma of an innovative leader or culture. There had to be more to it.

At the time I was working with hundreds of organizations from Intel to P&G, Nomura to NASA. They were a diverse lot and covered the entire spectrum of industries, from F500s to startups, and government agencies. However, over time, it became clear to me that the underpinnings which supported innovation in all of these organizations were amazingly consistent.

As I learned what drove and sustained innovation, as well as what prevented it, I decided to develop an assessment tool that would help companies better understand their own innovation capability. The assessment was based on the behaviors, attitudes, and most importantly the systems and processes in place among great innovators.

The result was what I call a company's Innovation Quotient--a single number that illustrates the inherent ability of an organizations to sustain innovation by having the right foundation in place for it to thrive. The full assessment is pretty deep, including seventy specific questions and metrics that look at everything from financial performance to hiring practices and the attitudes of leadership. (My book, The Innovation Zone, covers this in much more detail)

I'm not going to ask you to trudge through 70 questions! However, by answering only 12 of these questions I can give you a fairly accurate sense for how your company compares to over 6000 respondents who have already taken the assessment.

This simple test provides insight that will help you to better understand some of the areas where your own organization has inherent innovation strengths and weaknesses. But it also gives you a quick litmus test on how comparatively innovative you are.

Just one caveat before you take the test; be sure to pick the company or organization that you will be answering for. If it's for you as an individual that's fine, but don't mix and match your best of breed, or worst case scenarios, across multiple companies. That would be like administering an IQ test to a group of individuals who have not connection to each other; it's not very meaningful.

What's Your Innovation Quotient?

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Page 1 Questions
1. In your experience, which of the following describes the sort of innovation you have been part of in your organization? (Check only those that reflect an activity that your are normally involved with.) *This question is required.
  • A radical new product
  • A radical new process
  • An incremental change in a customer-facing product or process
  • A refinement of a backroom process
  • A new way of thinking about the organization (a new vision, strategy, or business model)
  • Don't know
2. Which of these do you feel best describes the attitude about measuring innovation in your organization? (Again, rely on experience and check only one.) *This question is required.
  • Innovation cannot be measured
  • Innovation can sometimes be measured
  • Innovation can always be measured
  • Don't know
3. List three different tools you use in practice to foster innovative thinking.
(leave blank if you are not aware of three such tools.)
4. Which of the following does your organization use to help promote innovation? (Check all that apply.) *This question is required.
  • Innovation management
  • Knowledge management (formal or systemic sharing of what people know)
  • Incentives for new inventions
  • Training on innovative thinking
  • Scientific methods for innovation
  • None
  • Don't know
5. Which of these do you feel best describes the attitude about teaching innovation in your organization? (Again, rely on experience and check only one.) *This question is required.
  • Yes, Innovation can be taught.
  • No, Innovation can't be taught.
6. Does your organization provide any formal education, guidance, mentoring dedicated to innovation? *This question is required.
  • Yes, it does
  • No, it does not.
7. If a new idea emerges in your company outside the ranks of executive management, how would you characterize its likelihood of making it into practice? (Check only one.) *This question is required.
  • Very likely
  • Somewhat likely
  • Unlikely
  • Very unlikely
  • Don't know
8. Think of the last good idea you had to add value to your organization. What happened to it? (Check only one.)
*This question is required.
  • I lost interest in championing it due to internal process and bureaucracy
  • It did not make it past a review committee (but it was reviewed)
  • I had no idea what to do with it so it just languished
  • It was embraced by an executive sponsor and was put to use
  • It was reviewed by a committee and put to use
  • I just bulldozed it through all obstacles and it was put to use
  • I just went ahead with it and it was put to use
  • Other (or N/A)
9. Rank your company's internal awareness: how well you know and can quickly access the right resources, capabilities, knowledge, and talent inside your company to build the internal capability to address a market opportunity. (Check only one.) *This question is required.
  • Poor
  • Fair
  • Average
  • Good
  • Excellent
10. Rank your company's internal responsiveness: how quickly and effectively you can coordinate resources, capabilities, knowledge, and talent into a team and project to actually build a solution for a market opportunity--but not yet deploy it to the market. (Check only one.) *This question is required.
  • Poor
  • Fair
  • Average
  • Good
  • Excellent
11. Rank your company's external responsiveness: how quickly and effectively you can bring the results of a new idea to the market. (Check only one.) *This question is required.
  • Poor
  • Fair
  • Average
  • Good
  • Excellent
12. Rank your company's external awareness: how quickly and how well you can sense the market's response to your new product or service and reinternalize it so that you can improve on the product or service. (Check only one.) *This question is required.
  • Poor
  • Fair
  • Average
  • Good
  • Excellent
13. How To Get Your Percentile Ranking
We're ready to show you your personal results. You DO NOT have to provide contact info to get your personal results. However, if you would like to see the aggregated results and your percentile rank against all respondents (only from the link in the article) enter your email and we'll send you the group results in a few days. All results are anonymized. We do not share, publish, or otherwise distribute any results with any personally identifying information (PII) such as individual names, emails, or any other data which may identify respondents.
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Apr 12, 2017