Underpinning research

The CLEAR IDEAS innovation development methodology translates research findings on effective innovation into improved organisational practice by developing the skills of managers to both better generate and implement new ideas in the workplace.

Its core components are based on a number of research projects completed by Dr Birdi at the University of Sheffield since 1999.

His initial research questions included: investigating the major barriers and facilitators of organisational innovation; identifying the knowledge, skills, abilities and other attributes required by managers and employees to deal with these challenges in order to be a successful innovator; and evaluating the effectiveness of training/development activities in this area.

The need for the research was identified by the Government’s push for innovation as a driver for economic growth.

Over many years, Dr Birdi contributed to a number of reports and research activities which highlighted major factors linked with innovation success. These included a University of Sheffield study of 500 organisations, and narrative/literature reviews for the Department of Trade and Industry’s 2003 UK Innovation Review. These reviews showed that whilst innovative ideas can be plentiful, internal influences within organisations can prevent these from being implemented successfully.

Dr Birdi also led Sheffield colleagues in conducting multiple studies evaluating the impact of creativity training in organisations. This showed that multiple factors influence the implementation of skills from their generation, that different types of courses have different impacts and that there is a need to combine the strength of several approaches. These findings influenced the choice of the IDEAS and CLEAR factors.

Following further work with a PhD student, the research strongly suggested that there was need to invent a new innovation training model, which developed the skills of employees and managers, to tackle both the creative and implementation aspects involved. Dr Birdi felt the new model needed to be a simple and systematic vehicle in order to make it memorable, applicable and accessible – in 2005, CLEAR IDEAS was created.


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