Commodore Innovation L.L.C.

Dead Reckoning

It’s always helpful to hear from people who have struggled with and overcome a problem you’re facing. With this post, we’re excited to launch the Practitioner’s Dispatch, a new series featuring innovation practitioners’ battle-tested advice on common problems. First up is Stewart Witzeman, who has more than 30 years of experience in innovation management. We asked him to give you his best advice on measurement for breakthrough (see also: disruptive, Horizon 3, etc.) projects. His bio follows the post. Thanks, Stewart! Read More

I heard an innovation leader at a Fortune 100 company remark recently, “There are lots of jobless innovation managers out there who will tell you—’if I knew then what I know now, I would have communicated better.’” Read More

Since starting Commodore a few months ago, we’ve talked with dozens of innovation practitioners who know how important it is to measure performance, but …! But they’re not sure how to get started. But they’re not sure how to make the case for investing time to measure. But they already have a system … but it doesn’t seem to be useful.

So we wanted to help. We created a step-by-step guide that’ll work whether you’re starting from scratch, or you have a system in place that needs a tune-up. Read More

A lot has been written about measuring innovation in recent years. I’ve been reviewing this literature as we build our service offering for Commodore Innovation. (For anyone interested, we have a live list of resources related to measurement of innovation here). Many of the articles, blog posts, surveys of industry practice, etc. suggest frameworks for measuring innovation. That is, they propose a way of thinking about what companies should measure when it comes to tracking innovation. Done well, such frameworks become tools that enable companies to quickly review and enhance their innovation measurement systems or establish entirely new systems. The existing frameworks available fail to achieve that objective, for reasons I describe below. Read More

We think companies can measure better all along the innovation pipeline, but if you asked us what sorts of activities need the most improvement vis-à-vis measurement? It’s not even close: it’s at the front end. Read More

Ask people in the startup or innovation community about Eric Ries’ The Lean Startup, and I bet “innovation accounting” won’t come up in 9 out of 10 of those conversations. Concepts such as minimum viable product (MVP) and pivoting have become firmly embedded in the startup lexicon thanks in part to Ries’ book. Innovation accounting has not. (According to Google AdWords, monthly search volume for “minimum viable product” is around 27x higher than for “innovation accounting.”) That’s unfortunate, because without it, Ries’ Build, Measure, Learn model falls apart. At best, measurement ends up being based largely on a few qualitative assessments that may not rigorously test your hypothesis. It’s also unfortunate because Ries’ innovation accounting methodology offers a simple, intuitive way of measuring learning within an active innovation project. Read More

We thought we’d better go ahead and address this one right up front. What is “dead reckoning” and why on earth would we pick that as the name of our blog? Read More

One of the reasons we started Commodore was concern about a decline in Total Factor Productivity (TFP) in many major economies (e.g., US, China, Euro area). TFP is, put simply, the portion of economic growth that occurs from using either labor or capital more efficiently—in some ways it’s a measure of innovation within an economy. (A certain Commodore founder, who shall remain nameless, has been a bit of an economics geek ever since he watched Mr Hyslop furiously describe price elasticity of demand on a dusty chalkboard in Fifth Form Economics.) Read More

With this blog post we launch an occasional series exploring what some of the best innovation books say about measuring and evaluating innovation. Since you’re reading this blog you are probably trying to figure out how to better measure your innovation efforts (either that or you’re a family member and here under duress). You may also be interested in exploring what some of innovation’s leading thinkers have said about evaluation, measurement, and innovation metrics. We’re starting this series to help directly answer that question (and, perhaps, save you some time).

So where to start? We thought Christensen’s The Innovator’s Dilemma was a fairly obvious place to begin, and so did Google’s algorithms, so we must be right. Read More

Over the last ten years—both in my practice as an innovation consultant and in the literature—I’ve seen a recurring theme among people paying attention to innovation in large companies. Consistently, they rank innovation among their highest priorities and consistently, they’re not happy with how it’s going. Read More