PILOT – Innovation ROI Best Practices

Resource Type
Research Project
Maggie Nichols, Greg Lemmon, Lydia Carson, Doug Hall
Innovation Metrics, Managing Innovation and R&D, Innovation Business Cases
Associated Event
Research Project

Initiated: Spring 2022

Expected completion: Fall 2023

Launch session slides

Latest Update

Next event: Contact Matt Dorocak for more information.

To learn more, contact Matt Dorocak.

Value proposition:

Innovation ROI is difficult to measure for organizations.  It is a complex system with many inputs, outputs, stakeholders and milestones.  Without a clear understanding of the overall system’s performance toward a specific aim, it can be difficult to manage, predict and finance your innovation efforts.  

In this research we will determine the best practices for measuring the ROI of innovation.  Specifically including both WHAT to measure, WHEN to measure and HOW to go about collecting the data in a way that’s reliable and systematic. 


Spring 2022Review past research efforts on the topics. 
Interview companies to learn what they currently do, what works and what doesn’t work – including what they measure, how they measure it, how they weight the measures. (via focus group and via individual interviews)
Summer 2022Interviews, continued
Create hypothesis of what metrics represent returns from innovation and investment in innovation that could be used to calculate ROI.
Fall 2022Hypothesis development, continued
Survey wider set of companies to test hypothesis – for them to answer their agreement/disagreement that the measures proposed are the right ones, accessible, predictive, etc. 
Late 2022 – Winter 2023Analyze survey results.
Spring 2023Summarize learnings as best practices.
Create workshop and “self-assessment” for organizations to gauge the effectiveness of their own ROI measurements.
IRI Annual Conference 2023Report out of findings
Fall 2023RTM article submission

Anticipated deliverables:

The project team will share their findings through an RTM journal article, a report out at the IRI Annual Conference, and a TRACK workshop.

Project leaders:

Greg Lemmon is a statistician and web developer with over a decade of successful experience inventing and developing innovations and doing cutting edge market research in the field of innovation. Greg specializes in research and development for systems that enable innovation. In addition to leading research efforts for the Eureka! Ranch and the Innovation Engineering Institute, Greg assists innovation leaders at other companies with design of experiments, data analysis and their innovation systems. Greg has successfully shipped new innovations for improving creativity, marketing, sales forecasting, market research, project management and even blending bourbon. By leveraging data-grounded research, Greg has also successfully stopped thousands of innovation projects that were risky or of low potential value to the organization.

Lydia Carson is Vice President, Innovation Engineering Systems at Eureka! Ranch, where she helps companies create and launch breakthrough new products, services, and systems.   Prior to joining the Ranch, Lydia’s corporate experience included working for Ford Motor Company and Lexmark International.  She also served as Director of Arkansas Manufacturing Solutions, part of the National Institute of Standard of Technology (NIST) Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP).  She left MEP to become an entrepreneur, founding Balm Innovations, LLC, a University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Arkansas BioVentures firm, and served on the MEP National Advisory Board as Vice Chair, representing small businesses.  Lydia received a mechanical engineering degree from Vanderbilt University and an MBA through the University of Arkansas.  She has received numerous certifications, including Innovation Engineering Black Belt, Six Sigma Black Belt, and ISO 9000 Lead Auditor.

Maggie Nichols is President and CEO of the Eureka! Ranch and the Innovation Engineering Institute.  She’s a graduate of Miami University’s Farmer School of Business and has spent her 25 year career in the field of strategy and innovation – holding titles of VP of R&D and COO at Eureka! after doing strategy work for Chase Bank.  She’s worked with 100+ teams from American Express, P&G, Ford, Schlumberger, Johnson & Johnson, Frito-Lay and many more.  While she currently leads the organization, she remains actively engaged in both direct work with executive teams, original R&D, strategy, and thought leadership in the category. 

Doug Hall is a hands-on innovation practitioner, quantitative researcher, educator, and author whose life’s work is applying system thinking to innovation. Doug is the founder of AcuPoll Precision Research, the Eureka! Ranch, the Innovation Engineering Institute and most recently Brain Brew Custom Whisk(e)y.  He is the best selling author of six books with a seventh in process.  Jack Covert named one of his books, Jump Start Your Business Brain, one of the 100 Best Business Books of All Time.  Doug has starred in two network television series and co-hosted a national public radio program.  He is a chemical engineer by education and for his pioneering work in applying system thinking to Innovation, Doug was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Engineering from the University of Maine and a Doctor of Laws from the University of Prince Edward Island.