So important for your activity, to track its performances and weaknesses, your KPIs must be wisely chosen to serve your strategy and objectives.
Let’s start at the beginning (it is much better).
What kind of KPI?
composite KPIs==> helps to track complex activities within your company and aggregate different indicators to evaluate their performance
Measuring KPI ==> quants KPIs helping to follow the activities and performances of your company
Quality KPIs==> Specific KPI to measure Quality, Clients satisfaction, emotions etc…
Choose them wisely
An error when casting your KPIs can have tremendous impact on your activity. here are some steps to help you find the right one for you.
Set the Direction: Define clearly your objectives and strategy
Yes, your employees and your company deserve clear objectives and strategy. It will definitely help later to chose the right one if you know where, when and how you want to drive your company.
Chose your vessels: Define the tactic Lots of people misunderstood Strategy vs tactic. Tactic is how you get where your strategy is aiming you. Each tactic plan has a given objective (gaining clients, selling more, increase the revenue per client, developing more cutting edge technology, Patenting more etc…). It should give access to a quantified results and participate to the company strategy.
Do it! Elaborate your action plan Your action plan is your daily reference document. It contains all actions and activities necessary to achieve your goals. Each line should have a given KPIs helping you to drive your actions and evaluate their results.
Drive: Follow and adapt
Build, Test, Learn, the magic words. Follow your performances, line by line, set targets and thresholds and even more important, learn why your actions have the given results, get feedback from customers or clients, and adapt your tactics. Your clients are not reacting the way you thought, learn why and adapt your actions. That’s the only way to be successful.
KPIs and Innovation
Oh yes, I couldn’t finish this article without having a word on Innovation. There are good KPIs for innovation. Depending of your targets, objectives, strategy and tactics of course. But there are bads any way, whatever you like to achieve. Here they are:
Number of patents…. So easy to write a patent. Is the company needing it? Is there a market out there? If yes, does the investment worth the sales? Answer those question (and some others incl do the owner get money when filing up?) to be sure patents are necessary but anyway it is so easily deviated…
Number of ideas per employees. First my personal opinion is that suggestion or idea boxes are killing innovation and collaborative innovation. Don’t start an idea box to innovate. Start it for continuous improvement, for employee engagements whatever you want but you will never innovate with an idea box. especially with a quantified « per employee » number of ideas. It kills the dynamic (if you managed to have one), overflow the process… If you had the chance to have one good idea, now you are sure to miss it.
Tell me if you have some more deadly KPIs for Innovation in the comments.
I have been recently challenged by a small company to increase their number of ideas. As I already wrote several times, most companies doesn’t need more ideas but they need good ideas and they need to select wisely the ideas to be implemented.
The goal of this mid sized company however was a bit different. Its CEO wanted a bit of continuous improvement rather than a real cutting-edge disruptive innovation. That’s hard time for the corporate at the moment and it is important to leverage the possibilities to enhance the performance of the organisation.
I have myself experimented several Continuous improvement tools that are close to collective intelligence and innovation. Two of them are in my pocket for such challenges 😉 But among the ones I have deployed there is a funny one (not that the other is boring). I have called it the 15min challenge. It has rather simple rules (which should be adapted according to your organisation culture, blue or white collars etc…)
Set the time zone
Define when you want to hold the 15 min challenge during the workday. sounds easy. Not so sure. Ask me if you want some more tips but believe me (or not) but that the most important task to perform in that method.
Put the 15 minutes in place
The deal is easy: at the established time, allow every single employee you have to step back 15min. During those 15min, one and only question: What keep me away from my best performance and how can I improve that? By myself. Of course answers can range from the lack of post-it(r) notes to organisational issues. One has a process for that 😉
Empower your employees
Once you have all your employees with so much improvements possibilities, put a governance in place that will allow them to modify , the way they work, for a better performance. Authors should also evaluate the benefits they could achieve. A lot of coordination is necessary from the challenge team and from the management. For more complex issues, problem solving techniques should be used (I also have tools for that ;-) ).
Measure the benefit
Work with your accounting department to evaluate the real benefits (ev. vs the costs). My experience shows tremendous results, sky-rocketing the expected savings. Can I guaranty a ROI? nope. I honestly don’t have enough samples to guaranty a ROI however, what I can say is that on the ones I have led, the ROI all included was average more than 3.
Find a way to celebrate the success with your team. That’s key within your management and your organisation.
And you are done. Seems simple but I have myself hold several challenges and each time I have been surprise by the preparation time needed and the coordination time necessary. So that’s a lot of work.
Have you experienced such a challenge or equivalent? What’s your feedback?
Yes, you kill good, very good may be disruptive ideas. And you even don’t realize it.
You have a suggestion box (or a so-called « idea management system »)
I haven’t say that for all long time. But now that I have some lessons learned about the suggestion box, that’s clear: That’s the n°1 idea killer. Usually organisation don’t anticipate enough, both the flow of new ideas to evaluate and the needed effort to implement them. As most of the time suggestion box comes along with an « idea per year » objective, the disaster is guaranted. No feedback from the process, never, no news, never, nobodies know what is your idea, where it is, if it has a chance to be deployed: a disaster. Ideas are our cheered eyes. no taking care of your employees ideas is the best way to aknowledge innovation as another management mantra.
Don’t celebrate failure
You are risk adverse. Your whole organisation is shaped to avoid taking risks… How do you want to innovate? Innovating is taking risk. It is allowing people to fail, to step again and fail again, until they manage, for the wealth of the organisation. So celebrate failure as success (a bit more for success)
Don’t put innovation as a running task
You can’t innovate on demand. One can think it is cheaper, less risky, but it is not wealthy at all. And really often even not efficient. You will never sustain innovation mindset by asking to innovation on the fire.
Legal, accounting and purchase at first
For sure that’s done. Put Legal, accounting and purchase on the front when dealing with ideas and you are done. Giving care to ideas is protecting them, taking care of them. There will be legal issues and financial issues with new ideas. For sure. Well intentioned killers are around in the organisation. Create a dedicated process where legal and accounting and purchase will have the look but protect the ideas there.
You think outside the box…
Believe me. I have never seen a company which is lacking of ideas. You have ideas all around your organisation. You don’t need to « think outside the box ». you need to recognise the good the perfect idea when it shows up. Sustain innovation by harvesting, evaluating, testing, testing and testing and of course measuring the impact. That is one of the key.
Innovation come by itself
Innovate is not a natural outcome of most of the organisation. Our organisation are designed to deliver things they know. Not the unknown. As most of the insights you will get from all sources you could have will tend to threaten your current business model they will not be taken as opportunities but as risks. in reality they are the fuel to innovate.
To innovate wisely one has to put an innovation-friendly organisation in place. That’s a hard job. As a leader or CEO it is of your responsibility for the long term success of your organisation. One has to put innovation as reflexes, kept in mind of all employees by the top management.
The persona is one of the main Design Thinking tool. It is a tool helping to take decisions regarding the design of a product and communicate with stakeholders (project members, suppliers, Executives…).
The persona is powerful when done correctly and used wisely. It allows a realistic and solid design based on what potential users await and what they want to do and can do. Each persona will define a type of users that will be satisfied by some features, some UI and a dedicated UX. It allows:
To communicate and share a common vision of the users among the team
To create empathy and affect to the users, who are hardly reachable
Synthesise the results of on site interviews and observations
Persona has been defined by Cooper in 1999 (main source of this article).
How to do a powerful and reliable persona?
3 steps are leading to a reliable persona.
Through interviews, on site observations, group workshops, on line pools or questionnaires, State-of-the-art analysis… you will gather all relevant information regarding your potential users, not only on the technical side but also on its habits, hobbies and connected activities that could impact your design. Sometimes, political, religious or way of life facts can be of interest. However studies have shown that gender and age are hardly an interesting variable for product/service design.
This phase can be time and budget consuming when doing it properly. however it can be advantageously replaced by goals and usages assumptions done by the team. In that case, those hypothesis should be validated later during the development.
From the raw material gathered during the first step, a fine analysis is necessary. This analysis can be summarised (and simplified) in 4 steps:
Establish analysis variables and define classification scales
At that stage you will have to identify from the raw material the variables that are defining at best your potential users. Example: computer users Variables could be:
Need of a powerful Graphic card
Need of a fast Internet connexion
Buy the latest technology
Need an up-to-date screen
Buy the most powerful CPU
Buy computer in parts
Need help to define the good computer
Construct the analysis framework and position participants on scale
Once that you have defined your variable you are able to define for each a scale that will allow you to segment the potential users on each dimension. This will provide you with an analysis framework on which you will position each and every potential user.
Define common behaviour
Once that all your participants are positioned on the scale you should be able to de construct the participants and identify common trends among them. Those common characteristics will then define your persona(s).
Take care not to split one participant into 2 personas. respect your participants integrity 😉
Build the persona(s)
The last and easy step is then to merge the data regarding all the participants for each persona and define the characteristics of each group as a whole.
Represent the persona The graphic representation of the persona is an important step as it will be the way to share the results of the whole process. I have personally used several template which I, at the end merged into my own design. You can find plenty of good designs on the internet. However I would really encourage you to find and design our own persona template. That’s really important that you fully understand and visualize what is the persona itself: having its own design is the key.
How to use your persona?
Your persona is the base for the communication within your team regarding the aimed users. Thus they should be communicated to your team and stakeholders. Communicated and discussed.
According to the state-of-the-art regarding persona, they are often used with scenario describing in details usages (actual or future).
How do you design and work with your personas? Leave a comment.
I have read an interesting article on Medium about Business models and business plans. worth the reading but I don’t really agree with everything said.
What actually attracted my eyes is this picture:
This is the first time I see this very interesting and valuable way to describe the whole process linked with the Business canvas. It is really a golden picture because it says several very important things about the business model canvas (or here the Lean canvas):
Don’t rely on 1 Business model, build several and do scenarii
Validate Product(or service) market fit
Prepare to scale
This will maximise the chances your products will firstly find its market and then become big!
Ralph-Christian Ohr issued recently a very interesting article about Breackthrough innovation. Why is it interesting?
First because it is a cleverer version of the one I defined at work and which I use every day to handle and manage innovation. Meaning that Ralph is actually modelizing something in use in real world which is always valuable for us.
Then because of the conclusion:
Research suggests that separating breakthrough innovation from incremental innovation by means of dedicated, cross-functional teams/units is the organizational model of choice. Responsibilities of those teams and the way they should get implemented mainly depend on
innovation horizon (H1: known to company, H2: unknown to company, H3: unknown to world)
complexity of the initiative
established work relationships
Innovation should be handle as an process and be part of the global organization of the company. And even more important Innovation should manage R&D… but chutttt… that is a secret.
You can reach the Ralph original post by clicking on the button 😉 Ralph post
disclaimer: My blog is not granted by my company and thus my writings are personal
Innovation Excellence just issued an article entitled « Employee Engagement in the Innovation Process ». This worth reading (see button below to read it).
Especially, this pool result focus on the incentive that could be given to employees regarding their innovation involvement to reward their ideas or their achievement.
I personally fully believe that the success of innovation is based on employee involvement. However most enterprises don’t measure it. More than that most of enterprise does have incentives for their « innovative » employees. It is surprising to find that someone is giving most of the time money to someone else for something which is not really monitored…
There are ways to monitor employee involvement and reward them, even not on a monetary basis. That works and gives very good results.But don’t forget one thing, employee involvement will work if you put energy to embark people. However, in a company, only the top management involvement will guaranty the success of your innovation initiative and insure that people will sustain their commitment into the innovation process.
I have made several canvas so far. Some of the ones I have taking part to design are actually reshaping their business. And I have a couple of lessons to share with you and try to give you some simple hints to also end on a powerful game-changing Business Model.
Analyse your current Business Model
That is your starting point, don’t neglect it.
Work in group
We are much cleverer working in groups. But choose your group wisely.
Learn from others
Competitors / other companies outside your playground, just be curious…
Define different scenarios
There is no perfect business model, there are options, scenarios that you have to have in mind. For one of my projects, I had more than 10 different scenarios.
Visit your future
By building business model you are defining your future so do it, visit your future, share your vision.
Show me the money
You are here to develop your business (or you are a NGO…) so focus on money and how it goes into your pocket
Visual is king
Make your business model canva visual. show the patterns, show the flow, show the relationships.
Test, Test, Test
Go to your partners, your clients, your stakeholders and test, test, test your assumptions and your models.
Once you ended on a defined model, implement it as fast as possible.
If you manage to do so, you maximise your chance to be good 😉
Do you see more steps to follow or want to give us some feedback. Please leave a comment.
Au fait, je suis en train de rattraper un MOOC de Coursera sur le Design Thinking par la Darden Business School et je démarre cette semaine celui d’IDEA. Je vous dirai ce que j’en pense dans un prochain post (in english 😉 ).