Goals are often financial: even if not strictly monetary, they should at least measure them. “We create delightful new products” is a goal. A little tricky, perhaps, but we can measure it, by counting products and tracking customers’ happiness with the result.
Values, on the other hand can be somewhat intangible and, one hopes, grounded in ethical or philosophical convictions. “Make Others Great,” “Be Humble,” “Take Responsibility.” These fine corporate values are inherently difficult to measure: one cannot easily reduce them to dollars and cents.
Of course, we may really, really want to hold “innovation” as a value. In our corporate hearts we may long for new ideas to inform every discussion. But you are not going to get there just by wishing it. First, you must make innovation a goal.
I sometimes say (only half joking) to our Qlik Labs in London that they disappoint me. Too many of their ideas prove valuable and useful and practical. They do not fail enough!
That is, however, only half a joke. A culture which truly encourages experimentation will, at some point, reward bold, imaginative efforts which don’t work out. Now, don’t get me wrong, please do reward the successful efforts, too!
The important point is to have corporate goals which measure innovation effort. How many new projects? How many are genuinely experimental in that they investigate new lines of business, new technologies, or new services? How many of these projects succeeded and failed?
Create goals like these, established and funded and measured and reported on. Soon enough you will look back on them and recognize that innovation drives a regular heartbeat of your business. Having done so, when you see those goals spontaneously picked up and set in new ways at every level of your organization, then you can reflect that indeed, you hold innovation as a core value.