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When it comes to innovation, ROI can be monitored and measured just like any other ‘cost of doing business’.

One of our biggest concerns, that often emerges when we’re asked to review a proposed or existing innovation system, is the absence of a reliable performance monitoring and evaluation framework.

How will management determine if the investment has been worthwhile or not?

Many managers say ‘we can’t predict the future’. While this claim has truth, it is not an excuse for not including monitoring and evaluation processes in your innovation strategy.

So what is an M&E framework?

Essentially it is the key performance indicators, how you will measure those indicators, who will collect the info or provide the info, and when it will be done.

Every innovation program should have such a framework for two reasons:

  1. This is what management will judge success on; and
  2. This is what you can use to keep management expectations under control.

The key, therefore, is to have a realistic M&E framework. Sadly, the lack of one is why many innovation programs are not sustainable. It’s almost as if everyone is a bit afraid of the innovation program actually delivering anything.

My suggestion is that instead of being afraid, embrace the innovation mantra by developing and implementing a sound innovation framework. Establish a best guess framework that has management buy-in, and establish a review process to improve (and modify) the framework after six to 12 months, based on the collection of additional information.

While the M&E purists may not be in favour of modifying M&E frameworks mid-project, isn’t it more important to have something that informs decision making in real time than something that measures what’s gone by the wayside?

The Impact Innovation Group can help you plan your innovation strategically, with M&E frameworks from the start. Contact us to find out how.

– Brian Ruddle, Managing Director

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