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April 1, 2015

ICCA, Leeds University Look at MICE Industry Innovation




ICCA and the International Centre for Research in Events, Tourism and Hospitality at Leeds Beckett University have released a study measuring the "absorptive capacity for innovation of suppliers" in the meetings industry. 

Although there is a large body of research on innovation related to other industrial sectors, little attention has been paid – until now - to the meetings industry. A project funded by ICCA with input from over 200 ICCA member organizations let Leeds Beckett University’s International Centre for Research in Events, Tourism and Hospitality develop an instrument to measure absorptive capacity of an organisation. 

With this information, meetings industry organisations can compare their level of absorptive capacity with others in the industry (see Figure 1 below). Companies in the meetings industry will also be able to monitor their absorptive capacity regularly, to track improvements over time and to compare their results with their peers. 

“There are many potential explanations for why some organisations are innovative and others are not," Professor Rhodri Thomas of the International Centre for Research in Events, Tourism and Hospitality, Leeds Beckett University said in a statement. "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.” 

Absorptive Capacity Scores for the Meetings Industry 

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. This capability is highly influential in creating an innovative organisational culture. The industry average score conceals a wide range from very low to very high scores, suggesting that some organisations could be significantly more effective in using external knowledge for competitive advantage whilst others are highly innovative. 

To calculate their absorptive capacity score, meetings industry organizations can complete the form in this interactive PDF and simply add up the results: http://www.iccaworld.com/dcps/doc.cfm?docid=1764. They can then compare their score with the industry average and the industry leaders. These ten questions are based on previous research on absorptive capacity in other industries, creating fifty potential questions which were tested and selectively eliminated to provide the best possible measurement. The simplicity of the instrument means that organisations in the meetings industry will also be able to monitor their absorptive capacity regularly, to track improvements over time and to compare their results with their peers, creating a barometer of innovation. 

Download the ICCA Research Paper: How innovative is your organisation? – Including four things you could do to improve the absorptive capacity of your organisation.


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