Measuring innovation takes faith-based failure

Freakonomics recently asked several individuals to provide their take on on innovation - as in, how can a company measure innovation? On Friday, it published a number of their responses.

I was intrigued by one suggestion in particular.

Using the example of the digital camera, one contributor suggested that since truly innovative products are often worse at a launch than competing products, perhaps the key metric is failure. The key then is to fail fast, recognize and embrace risk taking - to fail forward, some failures align with the company vision and some do not - and to identify where new ideas originate. Are they coming from all levels of the organization?

Since truly innovative outcomes aren't generally known until well after the fact, that made some sense. But succeeding at failure during the interim takes another key attribute, faith.

Wayne