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ICCA and Leeds Beckett University announce innovative new approach to measuring innovation in the meetings industry

ICCA and the International Centre for Research in Events, Tourism and Hospitality at Leeds Beckett University measure 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 organisations has enabled Leeds Beckett University’s International Centre for Research in Events, Tourism and Hospitality to develop an instrument to measure absorptive capacity of an organisation.

Meetings industry organisations are now able to compare their level of absorptive capacity with others in the industry. The simplicity of the instrument means that 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.

Professor Rhodri Thomas of the International Centre for Research in Events, Tourism and Hospitality, Leeds Beckett University, UK: “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: “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.”

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