Many innovation projects or change initiatives fail because the task is so big and new that the journey isn’t clear. So everybody is motivated and enthusiastic at the start, but it’s difficult to keep that energy alive as things get tougher.
How do you encourage creativity, innovation, and change in your team and organisation?
This topic came up during a recent conversation I had with a client who’s a senior leader. His organisation is implementing numerous change and innovation projects, and most team members are excited and enthusiatic about them … at first. But they stumble when faced with obstacles along the way, and give up if they can’t see a way through.
So, what can he do to address this challenge? The answer is in how we measure progress.
When you’re tackling a big project with an uncertain path ahead, instead of fixating on measuring your progress towards the goal, shift your focus to measuring the steps taken in the process.
For example, you could ask:
- How many meetings did we have with customers this week?
- How many conversations have we had in our team?
- How much time have we spent on this project (rather than being distracted by other work?)
- How many outside opinions have we sought this week?
- How many other examples have we looked at – from other businesses, other industries that might be useful to us?
This shifts your emphasis from an unknown journey to the tangible actions taken along the way.
This has two significant benefits.
First, it motivates your team because their “KPIs” are measurable activities rather than an elusive end goal. Second, as you make progress, the path becomes clearer and you can gradually transition to measuring the actual progress towards the desired outcome.
I have a worksheet available for you to download with some measurement ideas you can use for this kind of project. Use this as a starting point for discussion with your team.