Evaluating & Comparing Business Innovation & Improvement Results

Instructor: Natalie Boyd

Natalie is a teacher and holds an MA in English Education and is in progress on her PhD in psychology.

Understanding how well a program is working is crucial to successful implementation. In this lesson, we'll look at how to evaluate business innovation and improvement results, including what metrics to use to measure success.

Continuous Improvement

Anika is the head of the design team at a software company. Her department is in charge of designing and coding the software that the company sells. During the latest software rollout, she decided to challenge her team to implement a process that involves improving their entire workflow. Now that the software project is finished, it's time for Anika to see if the new process worked.

Anika's team has implemented continuous improvement, which is a process in business that involves incremental change instead of big change rolled out all at once. Continuous improvement can apply to products, such as when a company makes a series of small tweaks to a product and releases updates regularly. Alternatively, as in the case of Anika, continuous improvement can apply to business processes.

Continuous improvement has many benefits, including the fact that it can encourage innovation, growth, and agility in responding to challenges. But it doesn't do that automatically, so someone like Anika needs to evaluate whether the continuous improvement process implemented is actually working. To help Anika do just that, let's take a look at how to judge a continuous improvement program.

Measurement Timeline

Anika's team has implemented continuous improvement in order to be more innovative and better able to address issues of customers. One thing that Anika likes is that continuous improvement processes allow for constant feedback about what's working and what isn't. However, she wonders if it's really working with her team.

Because continuous improvement is a process that isn't ever finished (hence the word 'continuous'), it's important to measure and assess along the way to ensure that the process is meeting the needs of the team and organization. This will allow Anika to see whether her team is doing better now than they were before she implemented the program.

The first step in evaluating continuous improvement is to set up a timeline to assess the program in large and small ways. For example, Anika may want to schedule monthly check-ins to see how many project tasks have been completed that month by her team. That's a small assessment. She might also want to schedule a large assessment after the software project is finished that looks at how quickly the entire project was finished or how innovative the end product is.

Small assessments should be scheduled for regular, short intervals, such as monthly or even weekly. In contrast, large assessments should be scheduled for longer intervals, such as quarterly or yearly or after a large project is complete. Either way, the results of the assessments should be compared to something. One common comparison is pre-rollout data. For example, Anika may want to look at how productive the continuous assessment process has made her team. To do that, she might compare the weekly or monthly average number of tasks completed before she implemented the program to the average number of tasks completed after implementation.


Anika understands that it's important for her to schedule both small, short-term assessments and larger, long-term assessments when evaluating the program. But she's still a little unsure as to what those assessments should measure. Should she be looking at how many tasks her team completes or how innovative their solutions are or something else entirely, such as whether customers like the new software or how well it sells?

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