Recently Innovation Resource had occasion to return to a large financial service company that operates in multiple countries and has multiple divisions. They had assisted the company in launching an innovation initiative in 2000, and their efforts to derive revenue growth via innovation continue after several years of turbulence in their market environment as well as numerous changes in leadership. During a recent assignment, they informally surveyed a group of 20 managers who were heavily involved in the implementation of that ambitious even groundbreaking innovation initiative.

Here’s what they agreed were the key learnings:

You must keep metrics simple. The metrics apparently became burdensome in many cases. Additional metrics for innovation should be easy to capture, easy to track, and should not cause behavior that is engaged in only to “look good” with reported results. It’s a “big mistake” to have more than 4 or 5 innovation metrics.
You need to invest in innovation. Product manufacturers often have metric of “percentage of sales spent on R&D.” This service business, like so many others, has no budget or earmarked resources for innovation. How can we do innovation without budget?
You must continue to work on the culture. The innovation culture suffered greatly with staff cutbacks and general uncertainty in the air.
You must show people examples of regular contributors and managers coming up with value-adding, customer pleasing innovations. If you do, you’ll get more of that behavior.
You must find and build new champions — people who are responsible for making innovation happen, enhancing enablers of innovation and busting barriers. Senior management emphasis is critical. When it wanes, innovation emphasis dies. When it’s present, you are bound to see big and little results in terms of top-line revenue growth, strategy innovations, new products, and process improvements.

(This from Tucker on Innovation from