The first level of tracking projects is the activity or in-process metrics. Reporting such metrics helps teams and management track and measure their progress. When ideas are generated, they have to be selected and reviewed. Each idea will have a number of untested assumptions that have to be transformed into knowledge. Each team’s goal is to focus and test only the assumptions that are relevant to their innovation stage. This is true for both stage gate and agile / lean projects. As teams identify their assumptions and start running experiments, reporting KPI’s helps them see how much progress they are making in turning assumptions into knowledge, thus meeting the goals of their innovation stage.

Activity metrics for teams can include the number of ideas generated, the number of ideas selected, the number of ideas reviewed and the number of assumptions identified for testing. Once the teams start running experiments, the number of experiments being run, the number of customer conversations taking place, the number of customer observations and the number of usability tests can be counted. When the team begins testing solution ideas, they can count the number prototypes or minimum viable products (MVP) built, and the number of customers exposed to each product type or MVP. If the team is developing a software product and is using design sprints and hackathons, they can also track the number of these events, the number of people who participated, and the number prototypes that were created during each design Sprint.

Examples of activity / in-process metrics are:

1. number of ideas generated
2. number of ideas chosen
3. number of assumptions
4. number of experiments
5. number of customer conversations
6. number of customer interviews
7. number of customer observations
8. number of prototypes developed
9. number of MVPs built
10. number of hackathons held
11. number of design sprints
12. number of partnerships and collaborations
13. number of projects in the innovation pipeline
14. number products in each innovation stage
15. number of ideas submitted for investment decisions
16. number of investment decisions made
17. number of projects moving between each innovation stage / quarter
18. average amount spent per stage
19. number of projects by innovation type (incremental/core, adjacent/next-generation, transformational/radical)
20. number of employees trained
21. number of startup partnerships