Being an innovator can often feel like a solitary adventure:  beating your path through the thick jungle, treading where no one has set foot before – and no one to learn from or to guide you along the way. Then there are those just a few steps behind you, who are happy not to be first but are keen to see how you go and learn from you.

It’s these Innovators, and the early-adopters just behind them who the majority owe so much to. According to the Diffusion of Innovation model, the tipping point happens when an idea or a product reaches 17-18% of market share – then adoption really soars!

But why is this significant when we’re here to talk about OKRs?

I’m viewing the adoption and uptake of OKRs (Objectives & Key Results) through the lens of the diffusion model. We have seen the great, the good, the large and the small of Silicon Valley adopt them, and now we’ve started to see much larger corporates (PwC, Accenture etc.) develop a more OKR-style approach. So, are we approaching the magic tipping point?

In an effort to put my shoulder into some of the tipping, I recently ran the UK’s first OKR Meet Up in Manchester. I had previously seen in an OKR-focused LinkedIn group, that one had been started in Amsterdam – so naturally I thought “I could do that!”

My goal was nothing more than to create a space where those who were new to OKRs could exercise their curiosity and those who had already tried them could share their stories. Despite running in competition with the prospect of sitting in a beer garden in the sun (Manchester was hotter than Ibiza that day), we had seven great guests, all of whom had some great thoughts to kick around.

Four questions seemed to take up most of the air time:

  1. Are OKRs just an alternative to appraisals, or something more?
  2. If you’re going to put OKRs in place, then where should you start?
  3. If you are using OKRs as a way to motivate and track performance, then how might that relate to pay, or anything else you might want to assess for like a promotion?
  4. Are OKRs right for everyone in the business?

I think there’s a blog in each one of these, so watch out for my thoughts on them over the next couple of weeks!

Overall, it was a fascinating session with some great energy in the room. Feedback from the stalwarts who joined us were that it was a great space that allowed for some exploration of thinking which is hard to find between 9 & 5 in the office. We’re already looking forward to our next OKR Meet up, and hope to see you there!

If you’d like to join us for the next meet up, then we’ll be back together on Monday 18th September and you can sign up here for free!