How to measure the value of innovations faster and more clearly

2 mai 2023

Earlier this year, we launched the Opportunity Report: a collection of visions and insights from our experts to help you stay ahead in the new year. On 9 March, during our online event “Accelerating your business in 2023”, we brought these insights to life. One of the live sessions at this event was hosted by Uilke Duinstra (Service Line Director Strategy), who talked about ways to help businesses and organisations validate innovations faster and gain management’s support. In this article, we’ll share the key takeaways from Uilke’s session with you.

The uncertainty of innovation

One thing that’s certain: there are a lot of possible ways to define innovation. It can take the shape of a new role, a new product or service, a new organisation, or something else entirely.

In essence, innovation is doing something in a different way to create value. How that value takes shape depends on your organisation, your industry, your way of working, and a number of other factors.

So if innovation is so uncertain, how can you measure its impact?

As an innovator, you are an explorer

Every innovator is an explorer. We like to draw parallels between innovation and early explorers, like the Vikings and Columbus.

Each in their own way, they used their extraordinary skills, conviction, faith, and vision to navigate the seas — and eventually discover America.

Both the Vikings and Columbus navigated uncertainty. Similarly, if you want to implement innovation into your organisation, you’ll have to evaluate your current situation and determine next steps with a certain degree of unpredictability.

Navigate on competence and confidence

As an innovator, you will navigate on two pillars: competence and confidence. In other words: you’ll use your skills and your vision to find your way through uncertainty.

Measuring your progress on performance and result is necessary, because other KPIs don’t actually exist yet. This way of thinking is called Innovation Accounting (IA): evaluating progress when all the metrics typically used in an established company (e.g. revenue, customers, ROI, market share) are effectively zero.

Want to learn more about Innovation Accounting? Read these books:

  • Mark W. Johnson & Josh Suskewicz — Lead from the Future;

  • Andrew Chen — The Cold Start Problem;

  • Dan Toma & Esther Gons — Innovation Accounting.

The Innovation Value Logbook

Though the Vikings kept track of their travels in songs and rhymes, their exact journey to America and how they sailed was not written down. This made the trip difficult to replicate in the future. Columbus, by contrast, kept a ship's logbook in which he recorded the distance he covered per day, the strength and direction of the wind, and more. This not only made it easier to navigate, but also to repeat his journey.

This gave us the idea of creating an Innovation Value Logbook to record your learnings and the metrics that matter to navigate and share your innovation journey and make it repeatable.

With this canvas, you can take a critical look at your own beliefs and make sure that you’re able to tackle the right problem, create engagement with the solution, and have a viable idea.

The Innovation Value Logbook is a compass that helps you navigate on the early signs of success

This is how it works: the Logbook consists of two parts — the metrics on the left will track your competence to perform, and the metrics on the right will track your confidence in a good result.

Competence to perform

This side of the Logbook helps you map your current situation by addressing your business ideas, experiments, assumptions, and learnings.

Confidence in a good result

This side of the Logbook helps you track future progress by addressing three questions:

  1. Are you confident in your activation of the right problem?

  2. Are you confident in the engagement your solution will generate?

  3. Are you confident in the viability of your solution?

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Value Logbook

Business case: Quibi

What is Quibi?

Quibi was an American short-form streaming platform founded in 2020 by Jeffrey Katzenberg (ex-Disney) and Meg Whitman (ex-eBay, Hewlett Packard). The platform mainly focused on high-quality mobile content for commuters.

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Quibi’s Innovation Value Logbook

Quibi’s business idea was to add Hollywood quality and storytelling to short mobile content with a subscription model. The assumption was that they would be able to reach 7 million users with this short, high-quality content for mobile commuters on the go.

When filling in the right side of the Logbook for Quibi, it’s fair to say that they were sure of their target group. When Quibi launched, commuters seemed to be an untapped market in terms of premium, high-quality content. And yet, the platform never took off. So what happened?

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As it turns out, mobile commuters are quite a narrow target group — and they may be too specific to base an entire business plan around.

The people behind Quibi assumed that they could attract and delight these commuters by adding a high-quality aspect to their mobile content. But this assumption wasn’t very strong.

Moving down the Logbook to the solution metrics, we’ll see that the cookie keeps crumbling.

One of the biggest problems for Quibi is that premium content — like Hollywood-level shows and movies — is not always experienced as real. As such, it may not even be any better or more popular than user-generated, lower-effort content on Facebook Watch, TikTok, and YouTube.

After this realisation, things quickly went south for Quibi.

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Global lockdowns due to the Covid pandemic put the brakes on Quibi’s projected growth. Commuters, who were supposed to be Quibi’s main target group, weren’t commuting anywhere — and were thus consuming less short-form content on the go.

But Covid wasn’t the only problem. The platform didn’t achieve the sales growth the founders were expecting, with just 1 million active users — 72.000 of which were paying users.

A short six months after its launch, Quibi was cancelled.

Log for success

Looking at your own business idea, you can use the Innovation Value Logbook to avoid suffering the same fate as Quibi. When launching new products and services, make sure you have confidence in your activation, engagement, and viability.

Not sure where to start? Our strategists will gladly guide you through the Logbook.

Curieux d'en savoir davantage ?

Vous souhaitez discuter avec nos experts des avantages d'une plateforme HubSpot ? Complétez le formulaire et nous vous contacterons pour fixer un rendez-vous pour discuter de votre projet.

Uilke Duinstra
Uilke Duinstra
Service Line Director Strategy - iO

For 8 years now, Uilke has been forging innovation and strategy into a single offering. His secret to a successful innovation process? Getting the whole organisation on board through an exciting story. One that presents you with all the angles to shape a future-proof business.

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