This paper explores the experiences of engineering, design and construction organizations (EDOs) in developing innovative approaches to performance measurement in their design activities. It contrasts experiences of these firms with those of manufacturing organizations. It finds that performance measurement of engineering design activities is poorly understood in many industries, including construction. The development of new performance measures can provide a new opportunity for innovation in engineering, design and construction firms. At present, the measures used to assess design in construction are based on the financial performance of a project rather than other important objectives of the design process, such as quality and buildability. In manufacturing industries, firms rely on measures of new product development, but these indicators also say little about the measurement of engineering design activities, that is, those on-going and continuous. To realize the innovative potential of design and performance measures, EDOs need to take a broader perspective on the nature of design activities, and to look to the experiences of leading manufacturing firms to find new ways of measuring and understanding their design activities.