CHAPTER 11Innovation Interrelationships

For good ideas and true innovation, you need human interaction, conflict, argument, and debate.

—Margaret Heffernan

As a basis for measurements, let’s make sure you have winning innovation interrelationships in place—that is, relationships between all parties: your internal relationships between functional departments and leaders, and your external relationships with customers, suppliers, and others you are asking to help innovate. Yes, some of this was covered in Part I galvanizing. But it’s important to build more on relationships and interactions as we get into measurements. When you begin to measure anything, people start to get nervous. Measurement results can indicate success, but it can also indicate failure to some people, and they don’t always take that very well. They believe they will be judged against those metrics (and sometimes they are).

As we get into metrics and measurement of innovation value, I think of a quote from Jeff Thomson, CEO of IMA: “No measures, no dialogue.” What Jeff was saying was that if you don’t use measurements, how can you even have discussions around improvements, value creation, or degradation and discuss action steps to take going forward? You can’t. So you need to measure, then have debates, just like Margaret Heffernan’s quote. If you know debate and conflict are coming, you had better be prepared for it. Be ready to facilitate and have healthy discussions instead of defensive positioning and backpedaling. ...

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