ICCA and Leeds Beckett develop tool for comparing innovative capacity


WORLD – Although there is a large body of research on innovation related to many industrial sectors, little attention has been paid – until now – to the meetings industry.

This gap could close with the release from the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) and the International Centre for Research in Events, Tourism and Hospitality at Leeds Beckett University in the UK of a new tool for measuring the absorptive capacity for innovation of suppliers in the meetings industry.

A project funded by ICCA with input from over 200 ICCA member organisations enabled Leeds Beckett’s team to develop an instrument to measure absorptive capacity in meetings industry organisations.
The instrument means organisations can track improvements over time and compare their results with their peers.

Professor Rhodri Thomas of the International Centre for Research in Events, Tourism and Hospitality, Leeds Beckett University, said: “There are many potential explanations for why some organisations are innovative and others are not. Factors such as entrepreneurial leadership, organisational culture and the management of knowledge are often cited as important variables.

“One of the most influential ideas to emerge over the past two decades, however, is the role absorptive capacity plays in innovation.

“Absorptive capacity is the ability to acquire, assimilate, transform and exploit external knowledge for competitive advantage. The idea is that competitive organisations are not only able to process knowledge effectively to innovate but they also have the capacity to use information that does not directly fill an identifiable gap in knowledge.”

ICCA CEO Martin Sirk added: “We were delighted that an ICCA member university wanted to tackle such a challenging research topic. Our industry is constantly talking about innovation, but there have been no objective tools available. Hopefully this innovative project is the start of a new way of thinking about this important issue.”

The meetings industry’s average Absorptive Capacity Score, as suggested by responses from 208 ICCA members, is 34. A score of 45 or more suggests a high level of absorptive capacity.

The industry average score conceals a wide range from very low to very high scores.

To calculate their absorptive capacity score, meetings industry organisations can complete the form in an interactive PDF and simply add up the results: http://www.iccaworld.com/dcps/doc.cfm?docid=1764. These ten questions are based on previous research on absorptive capacity in other industries, creating 50 potential questions which were tested and selectively eliminated to provide the best possible measurement.

Download the ICCA Research Paper: How innovative is your organisation? – Including 4 things you could do to improve the absorptive capacity of your organisation: http://www.iccaworld.com/dcps/doc.cfm?docid=1766.
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Conference & Meetings World is published for the international conference and meetings industry. It tackles the issues facing organisers of international events. The editorial is independent, fresh and news driven, with a global reach.

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