Measuring Creativity and Innovation

As a leader you need to be able to evaluate your employees’ performance so you William Thomasknow what works and you can improve upon what doesn’t. Measuring creativity and innovation, however, is hard to do. It is easy to know how many cases a detective solves or how many widgets an assembly line worker makes, but measuring how creative or innovative someone is…well, that is tricky.

The folks at Boston Consulting Group spend a lot of time on this topic, looking for the most innovative companies every year, and that means they have to measure innovation consistently. That raises a very interesting question: if you want your employees to be innovative, are you measuring for that and evaluating it? A survey they did in 2009 shed some light on how internal practices might not match up with internal desires. In questions about measuring innovation within a company, 73% of their respondents agreed they should be measuring innovation, but only 46% said they were doing so, and even fewer were satisfied with the measurement being done.

To measure your employees’ job performance you need to find something that’s not only measurable, but also relevant. Look for outputs and effects of their creativity, not something that just shows how many hours they put into their work, but more importantly, how well that time was spent. Some possibilities, depending on your field, include:

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