When we first launched G2 Innovation we had a simple system for celebrating success - we rang a bell. It was a great feeling to ring and even hear the bell. We’d achieved! We’d taken another step forward on our journey. We were doing the right things. The wolves were at bay and we were building our vision.
Very quickly the bell ring became a measure for output – how many times did we ring the bell this week? Who earned the most bell rings? Is this sale worth a bell ring?
I came home from work one day and thought, ‘I didn’t contribute to a single bell ring this week!’ That’s when I realised our mistake - we were only measuring ourselves by one metric: sales.
This wasn’t user-centric, nor did it empower our whole team, many didn’t play a direct role in sales. The bell had become synonymous with sales rather than what G2 cares about and works towards.
We needed a change.
We reminded ourselves of our purpose: ‘To deliver growth through innovation’. This was our most important business currency, so what activity did we need to achieve this growth for our clients. (Not for G2.)
We considered getting rid of the bell, but celebration is fundamental to motivating teams, so how could we mark and share success and show gratitude without it? Instead, we re-assigned the bell ring. We no longer ring it just for sales but to celebrate activity and purpose.
This shift made a huge difference to us as a business, as individuals and as a team. We realised the most important activity was time invested delivering powerful programs, bespoke tools designed for clients, research conducted to better understand a client’s end-users and content created to educate our community about innovation.
Sales still had its place, but we began ringing the bell for more powerful reasons:
A client phoned to say our program has completely transformed their business
A client just had an amazing ‘Aha!’ moment
A subscriber emailed to thank us for today’s newsletter - it inspired them.
The tool we designed was a real game-changer in the last workshop
Suddenly the bell ring became synonymous with client growth.
By measuring activity aligned to our purpose, we became more transparent and proud of our work. We now regularly share stories about client outcomes and the work we’re doing individually.
Today we celebrate all types of achievements and acknowledge the effort to get there, and we’ve become more accountable to our clients. When only measuring ourselves against the bottom line, we didn’t value or appreciate the journey of getting there.
Learning from our mistake, we designed a tool to support our clients to drive and measure their innovation using purpose and activity as key metrics. Find out more in our Innovation Strategy Workshops and transformations programs.
Only measuring end outcomes gives innovation an unattainable quality, making the activity an ‘add on’ or extra task to their job, not part of ‘real work’. This slows and even halts progress, as people only value the possible reward at the end. Breaking down innovation into daily, weekly, monthly tasks makes teams accountable and provides opportunities to celebrate, learn and improve the small (and large) wins along the way.
Celebrations shouldn’t only happen when we verify that an idea works. Receiving feedback from users that an idea doesn’t meet a need or that there is another barrier to implementation are vital lessons that enhance the long term result.
Before venturing into another innovation project, ask yourself:
Is there a known purpose to the work we’re undertaking?
Is this ‘why’ translated into meaningful goals and expectations?
What are the activities we need to do to make progress?
How will we measure the activity?
How can we acknowledge all kinds of results to motivate the team?
Measure activity and outcomes will flow, measure outcomes and activity will slow.