Reporting 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.

A major part of program implementation involves communicating results of that implementation to top decision-makers. In this lesson, we'll look at ways to report on business innovation and improvement results.

Continuous Improvement

Harold is nervous. A year ago, he implemented a new process in the customer service and sales department that he oversees. The process was focused on continuous improvement, or incremental change over time. This type of process is meant to encourage innovation and agility in organizations, and Harold implemented it to help his team respond better to customer needs and, therefore, sell more and keep customers happier.

But, some people in senior management were skeptical when Harold implemented the program and now it's time to report the results. He needs to explain how things have changed in his department since they began continuous improvement. How can he do that? To help Harold out, let's take a look at how to report business innovation and improvement results, including the types of reports and how to communicate results effectively.

Types of Reports

Harold knows he needs to communicate to senior management the results of his continuous improvement implementation. But, how should he do that?

The first thing that Harold needs to figure out is the type of reporting he'll be doing. There are two major types of reports, written and presented. Examples of written reports include memos, formal reports, and emails. Meanwhile, presented reports are presentations which can be in person or via video or phone conference.

Harold has been invited to do a presentation for the senior management team at their monthly meeting. This means he'll be doing an in-person, presented report. However, he still might want to include a brief memo or other written report to summarize what he'll present and give attendees something to take with them and look over later.

Both written and presented reports should include three major sections. These are:

  1. Introduction: The introduction should clearly outline the program goals and where the organization was before the implementation. For example, Harold's main goal in implementing the program was to better respond to customer needs. This led to the two sub-goals of more sales and happier customers. He'll want to outline these in the introduction. He'll also want to talk about where they were in terms of each of those goals before he implemented the program. For example, he might want to talk about sales figures for the year prior to the program implementation and/or what their customer service ratings were for that time period.
  2. Evidence of measured change: The main part of the report will provide facts and figures of measured change. That is, Harold will want to communicate the results of any assessments he's done on the program's efficacy. For example, he might show how sales have increased since implementation or how customer service ratings have improved. He should balance quantitative data, such as sales figures, with qualitative stories, such as customer testimonials. The key thing in the middle section, though, is to outline how things have changed.
  3. Conclusion: The final section should include a brief summary of the change he's demonstrated in the report. In particular, it should highlight the trends seen since implementation. It should also include future projections. For example, Harold might want to point out a few trends in the data, such as increased sales revenue from upselling current customers, and then talk about what he believes will happen in the future thanks to the continuous improvement process.

Communicating Results

Okay, Harold understands the types of reports and what each one should contain. But, he's still not totally sure of himself. How can he most effectively communicate with senior management the successes his team has seen over the past year?

There are several things that Harold can do to effectively communicate in his report. The first is to tell a story with measured results. Numbers are nice, but what do they mean? Harold needs to clearly explain what happened and how it relates to company goals and initiatives. This means choosing metrics that are most relevant to both company and department goals.

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