by Matt Alderton | April 21, 2015
In most industries, innovation is a hot topic. In the meetings industry, however, it's more "talk" than "walk," finds a new study by the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) in partnership with the International Centre for Research in Events, Tourism, and Hospitality at Leeds Beckett University in England.

The study leveraged an instrument developed by the International Centre for Research in Events, Tourism, and Hospitality to measure the "absorptive capacity" of meetings-industry organizations.

"There are many potential explanations for why some organizations are innovative and others are not. Factors such as entrepreneurial leadership, organizational 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," Professor Rhodri Thomas of the International Centre for Research in Events, Tourism, and Hospitality explained in a statement. "Absorptive capacity is the ability to acquire, assimilate, transform, and exploit external knowledge for competitive advantage. The idea is that competitive organizations 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."

Based on a survey of 208 ICCA members, Thomas concluded that the meetings industry's average Absorptive Capacity Score is 34. A score of 45 or more suggests a high level of absorptive capacity.

"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," said ICCA CEO Martin Sirk.

Organizations can calculate their own absorptive capacity using the ICCA Absorptive Capacity Tool, and gain tips for improving innovation by downloading ICCA's research paper.


For a recap of recent top stories, check out MeetingNews Minute: