The Social Innovation Readiness Scorecard: Applying Social Communities to Product Innovation

We have been working with companies eager to develop more innovative products using such social technologies as BigIdea or Spigit. We find that their success rate is low because these companies rarely understand the structures and processes required to turn participation in these networks into innovative new products. Example Social Innovation Readiness ScorecardThe Social Innovation Readiness Scorecard is a decision-making tool that gauges an organization’s capability to initiate and to leverage these communities. It allows your organization to identify the critical areas that many companies overlook prior to launching a social development initiative.

The scorecard’s benefits include:

  • Providing a new methodology for accelerating innovation
  • Identifying strengths and weaknesses that will impact your probability of success
  • Helping to avoid mistakes in the implementation process
  • Creating a framework for managing the implementation of social solutions

The scorecard measures your organization’s social innovation readiness in ten critical areas. These areas include the current use of social technologies outside of product development, the level of management commitment, and social community resource expertise. It also rates the maturity of tools, and the organizational structures in place to support social communities.

Implementation

The scorecard is a spreadsheet developed through a group process that includes a subset of your executive staff or senior directors. This process takes about one or two hours.

First, introduce the concept of communities and then instruct your group on the definition of the various dimensions of readiness (see graphic below for definitions). The facilitator can explain the ratings of each of the ten dimensions by giving examples of low and high levels of performance for each dimension. This helps your team provide more precise and consistent ratings.Social Innovation Readiness Scorecard

Then each person fills out the scorecard individually, without discussion. The facilitator collects the scores and computes the average and standard deviation for each dimension.

In cases where the standard deviation is high, the facilitator explores the responses further to understand why perceptions differed so widely. Following this discussion, the facilitator then asks if anyone would like to change his or her ranking. After performing the self-assessment, the facilitator creates an action plan by addressing the low scores in the scorecard. Your organization now has a prioritized list of areas for improvement with respect to social readiness.

Above you will see  a sample scorecard. The dimensions of social readiness are in the first column. The team’s average score (1-5, low to high) is in the second column and the third column is the standard deviation of the team’s responses. The cells are shaded when the mean is below three or the standard deviation is greater than one.

Which Business Problems Does the Tool Solve?

Applying social technology is not a fad. It has become a tool that transcends its early applications in marketing, customer support, and training functions. The Social Innovation Readiness Scorecard ensures that you get a head start, isolating key obstacles and helping to develop plans to overcome them. It creates conditions for a successful starting point for leveraging social communities for product innovation.

What Else You Should Know

The biggest barriers to successful implementation are:

  • Lack of community management expertise
  • Lack of a clear value proposition and understanding of “what’s in it for me”
  • Lack of a system for initiating and launching communities
  • Insufficient incentives for participation

In the rush to implement a social strategy, many companies stumble because they jump in before they understand the framework required to be successful. An effective social strategy requires new tools, processes, roles & responsibilities, and decision-making models. The scorecard is an excellent first step toward developing these new capabilities that are vital to capturing the competitive advantage of social innovation.