Innovation progress can be tough for managers to define, diagnose, and measure. Mohanbir Sawhney, director of Northwestern's Kellogg School of Management's Center for Research in Technology and Innovation, and Kellogg fellows Robert C. Wolcott and Inigo Arroniz have been compiling data on the innovation habits of companies such as Boeing (BA), eBay (EBAY), DuPont (DD), Microsoft (MSFT), Motorola (MOT), and Sony (SNE). They've come up with a tool called Innovation Radar. It's a framework of 12 "dimensions" (such as "brand" and "platform") that leading companies tend to consider before investing in a breakthrough technology or service. A company's strengths and weaknesses can be mapped via a simple computer program into a radar-like graph. The image pinpoints where to invest resources. The researchers are compiling a database of companies testing the tool and are actively seeking corporations to participate.
By Reena Jana