Predicting the Outcomes of Creativity and Innovation in Organisations
Tuesday, October 26, 2010 at 4:08PM
Ralph Kerle in Creative Leadership

 Our journey of discovering on this topic began almost two years ago when I wanted to try and assess the value of the creative leadership and creativity programmes we were delivering.  The more I inquired the more it became apparent, answers were not easy or readily available.

The major national research project “Is Australian management creative and innovative?” the Creative Leadership Forum completed in 2008 further complicated the issue when it revealed over 75% of managers said the creativity and innovation training they received was at best ineffectual, at worst a complete waste of time and money.

Since 2008, I have had many conversations with senior leaders in organisations in which they were simply trying to define what innovation actually meant in the context of their organisations, before even starting to plan how to develop strategic thinking around the concept of creativity and innovation.

When the strategic thinking around innovation did begin in earnest (in far fewer circumstances than I would have expected given the amount of noise there is in the press and with governments globally), suddenly the rhetoric of rapid change and disruption, or else death, in this contemporary technological powered world faltered.  It seemed everyone could research and talk about creativity and innovation knowledgeably but, inside organisations, very few were actually doing it!!

Indeed, I had to reach as far back as the 15th century and my good friend and guide in all things real and human, Machiavelli to find a suitable explanation for what seems to be occurring.

“….There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things. For the reformer has enemies in all those who profit by the old order, and only lukewarm defenders in all those who would profit by the new order, this lukewarmness arising partly from fear of their adversaries … and partly from the incredulity of mankind, who do not truly believe in anything new until they have had actual experience of it….”

– Niccolo Machiavelli, the Prince 1532

It seems regardless of the industrial, technological and conceptual advances we make, some things about organisation, human behaviour and instinct remain the same.

So it was against this backdrop, the Creative Leadership Forum set out to discover the difficulties and impediments to creativity and innovation in organisations. It wasn’t long before we determined there was a need to overcome the notion that creativity was abstract and to try and develop a system to benchmark it organisationally in some way, thereby assisting leaders and their teams to make more knowledgeably decisions about innovation generally and specifically.

In summary, to create an index, the Management Innovation Index ™ (the MIX) that would assess an organisation’s readiness for innovation and over time, with an understanding of an organisation’s key measures predict the outcomes of improving its creativity and innovation .

As  a result,  I have authored a background paper “Creativity in Organisations – How can creativity become a prime contributor to the strategic objective of the organization?" I am eager for feedback and would welcome any responses and thoughts on it. You can add your comments at the bottom of this post..

In addition, over the last two years, the Creative Leadership Forum has had the pleasure of working  with a team of specialists exploring, formulating, testing, designing and ultimately producing  the benchmarking system  -  The Management Innovation Index ™.  

Dr Edward Halteman, Principal of SurveyDNA and Senior Consultant, Survey Gizmo, Colorado, Arizona, USA, a statistician and survey design specialist, advised and mentored us in our survey questionnaire design.

I found Sara Dunn on the web site oDesk offering freelance services after all other searches for the specific set of skills we required had failed to locate anyone. Sara, an economics and statistics graduate from Washington University, USA, currently residing south of Chicago, has a long list of distinguished credits in the US for building databases, for interpreting data collection and for designing reports to undercover the secrets held within it. Sara proposed and designed the regression analysis that gave us the breakthrough we needed to use the word “predict” in our discussion of the MIX.  I can’t speak highly enough of her and she has joined us as our statistical analyst.

Thank you to the 181 people globally who have completed the survey questionnaire allowing us to test the construction of questions , giving us the opportunity to verify the assumptions around the data, to begin benchmarking, thus enabling us to create a meaningful report template  – The Management Innovation Assessment for client feedback.

My fellow creative practitioners, Andy Eklund of AQUS, Sydney Australia and Linda Naiman, Creativity at Work, Vancouver, Canada argued, laughed, challenged and inspired me with their own reflections,  concerns and doubts as the index and its presentation format unfolded and evolved.

A huge thank you to Bernard DeSmidt, Global HR and Talent Director, Terrapin and Abigail E Thomas, Head of Innovation, the Australian Broadcasting Commission, both of whom allowed me to prototype the Management Innovation Index on their organisations and whose feedback in the early stages was instrumental in the Creative Leadership Forum continuing to develop the index and the Australian Federal Government Department for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research who included the MIX in the Submission to Prime Minister and Cabinet on Public Sector Reform as an assessment tool.  

I am extremely grateful to Dato Ghazi Sheik Ramli, the Founder/President of the Malaysian Association for Creativity and Innovation and a Board Member of the Malaysian Innovation Foundation who has provided me with the platform at the upcoming Kuala Lumpur Innovation Forum, Nov 3- 4, 2010 to present the philosophy and thinking behind the Management Innovation Index to leaders in Malaysia and South East Asia.

And last and certainly by no means least, Scott Cressman, Creative Director, LPi Group, Calgary, Canada and Malcolm Moir, Head of Business, Sydney Festival and currently Chair of the Creative Leadership Forum Advisory Council have for the last three years been the sounding boards and strong anchors for what we have achieved.

In the OECD Innovation Strategy Report 2010, a key recommendation to assist future growth in the global economy was the necessity for

“ methods of analysis that are interdisciplinary in nature…to understand innovative behaviour, its determinants and its impacts at the level of the individual, firm and organisation..”

Using the data obtained from the MIX across all organisational surveys, the Creative Leadership Forum seeks in the future to contribute to the global understanding of innovation by defining the effect management innovation has on a particular measure of economic growth, such as GDP or employment rates, in the process informing and assisting governments globally in their overall development of  innovation policies and strategies, ultimately predicting how investing in management innovation can fuel economies.

By participating in the Management Innovation Index™, your organization can help the Creative Leadership Forum gather the data required to define the importance of management innovation and its effects on global economies. The statistical tools we use to gauge this impact require a certain volume of data.  The more data that we have, the more accurate our index will be. Would you mind spending 10 minutes to contribute and complete the Management Innovation Index survey? Click here

Thank you for your participation,


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