Managing Innovation Starts with Measuring Engagement

by Jacqueline Zhou

When starting a new innovation initiative, understanding which innovation and engagement metrics are important can help you define your organization’s current innovation capacity. We’ve closely examined all of our experiences working with our clients, and these are the eight most important metrics to measure your innovation capacity on a monthly basis.

% Adoption

The adoption rate (total users/total target community) is a clear reflection of how well the community resonates with your initiative. It is also a great metric for determining the reach of your communications plan.

Quick Tip: Use this innovation and engagement metrics tool to track and measure the health of your innovation program.

image credit: Hades2k

Thirty-Day Adoption Growth

The Adoption growth metric is important for determining if your innovation initiative is reaching the entire target community. We normally see the launch of an innovation initiative generate high adoption rates for the first month and from there, the adoption tends to increase in a consistent manner.

Quick Tip: Engaging employees right from the get go is critical for success. Take advantage of different forms of communication like newsletters and town halls to spread excitement and awareness.

% Engaged

The percentage of people engaged (total active users/total users) shows of course how engaged your existing users are. We define “active users” as community members that are either ideating, commenting, or voting on the ideas in your innovation management software.

Quick Tip: If you’re not using innovation management software, this spreadsheet can help you track ideas.

Level of Activity

The level of activity (% New Ideas, % New Comments, % New Votes)is actually three metrics. We measure activity by the number of new ideas, new comments, and new votes submitted in the past thirty days compared to the previous month. You want to make sure that your community is constantly engaged and actively contributing more every month.

Quick Tip: Weekly newsletter email blasts are effective for increasing the number of votes while responses from leaders generate more new ideas.

Topics of Discussion

Word clouds are a great way to see what topics are resonating with the community. You want to make sure that the topics of discussion are aligned with the types of ideas that you would like to see in your community.

Quick Tip: Use a goal setting guide to help you create and frame the conversation to get the most productive ideas from your employees.

Response Rate

The response rate (responses/ideas) is one of the metrics we use to determine the engagement from leaders. When an idea reaches a certain threshold of support from the community, leaders should respond to the community with what actions they are planning to take. The higher the response rate, the more engaged leaders are.

Quick Tip: Leaders who successfully manage innovation are 1) effective at communicating back to the community and 2) able to implement ideas.

Completion Rate

The completion rate (completed ideas/accepted ideas) shows the percentage of ideas that have been accepted by leaders. On SoapBox, leaders can choose to accept or decline an idea. When an idea has been accepted, it means that the leaders will implement the idea. You want to make sure your pipeline of ideas is healthy with ideas that you’ve accepted while you work on completing other ideas.

Quick Tip: Maintaining an idea pipeline ensures that monitoring the community for exceptional ideas becomes a key part of your workflows.


Finally, ROI (ROI/completed idea) is one of the most difficult, but arguably the most important metric to measure. It not only helps to secure more resources to expand your
initiative, but also demonstrates the impact of each completed idea from the community. Different types of ideas will generate different values of ROI, and learning those differences can help to build your innovation capacity as you start to create your innovation portfolio.

Quick Tip: Be strategic about choosing which ideas are generating higher ROI. Smaller ideas are easier to evaluate but can also have a massive cumulative impact on the business.

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