Medtronic Director of IT innovation: 4 metrics for measuring innovation

Originally posted on MedCity News

asset_upload_file753_134152Paul Thompson, director of IT innovation at Medtronic, explained how he held on for four years to bring the “hospital of the future” to life. His work is part of the company’s larger push to move from a device maker to a healthcare services provider, which he compared to IBM’s move from hardware to services.

At the end of this session at CONVERGE, an audience member asked what metrics Thompson and his team must meet each year to be considered a success.

Thompson said that proving your worth is always a challenge for innovation departments. He said that one basic count is the number of people who visit the hospital of the future each year.

“We also consider the number of patents we generated for Medtronic, my team has created about 64 pieces of IP over the last 4 years that are going through the patent process,” he said.

He also keeps track of how many of his team’s solutions make it as far as a pilot project or to a commercializable form.

Earlier in the conversation, Thompson said that one way to help new ideas gain acceptance in a big company is to give them away freely to champions — spreading the development work and the evangelizing. As he discussed metrics, Thompson said that tracking the progress of those ideas is key to proving where those ideas came from originally.

“We’ve had to be very purposeful to document ‘Here is what we were working on and here is where it went,’” he said.