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Wrong Metrics, Wrong Behaviors

Embrace the behaviors that result in the desired numbers and you will add value to the company.

Creating a culture of innovation can be as simple as following the numbers. But without strong guidance from the top, those numbers can sink your company.

In fact, to Ram Ramakrishnan, executive vice president, CTO and general innovation champion at Eaton Corp. (IW 1000/290), numbers, and specifically metrics, have become the go-to tool for building the innovative environment that keeps the company moving.

"Metrics drive behaviors," he explains. "It's as simple as that."

Like most data-driven industries, at Eaton, metrics are directly tied in with the company's recognition and reward program. So, meet your metrics, prove your worth. Or, from Ramakrishnan's point of view, embrace the behaviors that result in the desired numbers and you will add value to the company.

And to Ramakrishnan, that strategy is as sound in R&D as it is, say, on the plant floor.

From that perspective, innovation sounds easy. Brainless, even. Want an innovative culture? Just require monthly creativity quotas. Done.

But it's not quite that simple.

More on innovation on IndustryWeek.

IndustryWeek  is an NED companion site within Penton’s Manufacturing & Supply Chain Group.

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