Simply score yourself and your organisation from 0 to 5 for each of the statements below, where ‘0’ means you strongly disagree with the statement, and ‘5’ means you strongly agree with the statement. After completing the survey sum up your total score and find out what it means for you and your company by comparing to the summaries below.

  1. Ambitious goals. We set demanding future goals that are a constant focus for everyone in the business.
  2. Broad scope. We want to create entire new businesses and product categories, attract new customers and enter new markets.
  3. Experiment fearlessly. We know that failure is inevitable in any new venture and use trials and prototypes for rapid learning.
  4. Real customer insight. We find new ways to discover customers unmet needs and ask ourselves how we can improve their lives.
  5. Systematic approach. We have effective processes and systems for generating, evaluating and investing in new ideas.
  6. Broad engagement. We involve the whole organisation in innovation and invest in skills and capabilities accordingly.
  7. External relationships. We don’t try and do it all internally, and work with external partners to identify and drive new growth.
  8. Performance management. Our people are rewarded on the basis of their ability to develop and deliver new business ideas.
  9. Strategic Alignment. We have identified priorities for innovation that are clearly in line with our strategic objectives.
  10. ‘Stealing’ Ideas. We actively seek new ideas from other industries and markets.
  11. Exploiting the unexpected. We use unexpected successes and failures – our own and others’ – as a starting point for innovation.
  12. Exploiting external changes. We actively track customer, social, economic and technology trends to identify new ideas.
  13. Sales and profit impact. Over 40% of sales and 30% of profits come from products and services introduced in the last 3 years.
  14. Brand enhancement. Customers and staff are loyal to us because of our innovation track record.
  15. Innovation pipeline. Our current pipeline of new innovations is likely to grow the business by over 25%.
  16. Company value. Our excellence is rewarded by an advantaged competitive position and a premium in our company’s value.

What your score means:

Your score is less than 40

Inside-Lane Incrementalist. Although you may believe that innovation is important for your business, you are simply not walking the talk. You continue to play it safe and focus on making minor improvements to existing products, services and processes. You need to find ways to increase your organisation’s appetite to experiment with new ideas, its willingness to accept and manage failure with new ideas and its commitment to build the processes and capabilities necessary to drive the profit growth that the leading innovators enjoy.

Your score is in the range, 40-65

Middle-Lane Follower. Your innovation processes may be reasonably strong, yet you may find that you are not making major advances. You are likely to be overly focused on copyting and responding to your competitors’ latest movers, and are reluctant to make the bigger steps that will drive your business forward. You should look at ways to increase your appetite and ability to take on and manage the risks of bolder innovation activity.

Your score is more than 65

Fast-Lane Innovator. Your company is set up to develop and deliver true innovation into your markets. You are likely to be seen as a leader in your market and achieve results that are superior to your competitors. The key watch-out going forward is to ensure that your innovation remains relevant in the context of fast-changing business environments. Remember, nothing fails like success, and you must ensure that you continue to be proactive in raising the bar and driving future growth.

Want to find out more? Download my free e-booklet Fast-Lane Innovation by clicking here, where you will find 15 powerful lessons in improving innovation for your business.

© Stuart Cross 2012. All rights reserved.