Intrapreneurship and Metrics: What Really Matters?


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I really look forward to participating and giving a talk at the Intrapreneurship conference in Paris on December 13.

I have previously written a blog post as preparation for the conference and here you get another one. This time, I focus on the metrics that you can apply in order to measure your intrapreneurship initiatives.

First, I need to state that I am a bit reluctant when it comes to using metrics for innovation efforts. I agree with the old statement that everything that is worth doing is worth measuring, but I just keep getting back to the fact that the innovation community (companies, consultants and academics) has tried to develop innovation metrics for the last 20 years on innovation in general. The success rate has been way less than impressive.

I also agree that companies need some metrics to evaluate and hopefully convince executives that open innovation work, but they need to be careful not to turn this into too much of an issue. It is just so difficult getting this right and efforts spent trying to get this right can be used in other ways.

Let’s get back to intrapreneurship, where I focus on three key things when I work with companies on this. They are people, processes and ideas – and the order should be like this. Too often, companies have way too much focus on ideas and thus they forget to focus on the people side. We need strong focus on both elements and you also need to have good processes in place in order to bring the right ideas to the right people.

So what metrics can we use in these three categories? You can use my takes as a discussion starter:


As you are building your pool of people, you can simply start counting them and track your progress. Here we need to remember that people have different skills and you need to apply these skills at the right time. I like to view people on their abilities to deliver during three phases of innovation: discovery, incubation and acceleration. Once you have defined such phases, you can start tracking how many people you have in each category to begin with and how these pools of people develop both with regards to quantity and quality.

When we talk about people, we also talk about corporate culture. Some call this the softer side of business, but it really matters so it is worth trying to develop some metrics on this. This is a great opportunity to engage your Human Resources department in your innovation work.


It’s difficult measuring a process as this does not result in direct outcomes. We get some inspiration in this slide on Open Innovation Maturity Assessment by Philips and Solvay as it looks at internal processes, culture and partnerships.


You can measure the number of ideas generated and then break this into different stages in your process all the way from ideation to market launch. I would also like to see companies put more emphasis on why ideas fail and learn from this. Perhaps you can also apply metrics for this.

As you can tell, I am trying to keep this as simple as possible. You can definitely build more on this so please add your own suggestions.

You can also find more inspiration on innovation metrics in this blog post: Metrics and Open Innovation: The 15inno Open Innovation Roadmap. It has lots of interesting links.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Stefan Lindegaard
Stefan is an author, speaker, facilitator and consultant focusing on open innovation, social media tools and intrapreneurship.


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