Learn How Associations Drive Innovation

October 18, 2016   |   Vol. 15   |   Issue 10
By Matt Kerr, MGI Research Analyst

Learn How Associations Drive Innovation

Get Your Copy of the Association Innovation Benchmarking Report.

What are the characteristics that define innovative associations?

That’s the question Marketing General Incorporated (MGI), in conjunction with the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), decided to ask professionals in the association world.

Building on qualitative research conducted by Amanda Kaiser, MGI launched an online survey in May 2016 and invited association professionals to share their thoughts on a variety of innovation-related issues facing their organizations.

The research focused on how associations set innovation goals, how they support innovation, what rewards and recognition they offer, and how they set metrics for innovation.

A total of 344 associations participated in the research, and the findings revealed a wealth of insights on the role of innovation within associations. Looking at the association landscape as a whole, innovation tends to play out in one of two distinct ways: associations either embrace innovation completely or ignore it altogether.

Among the associations that embrace innovation, we found that:

  • Innovation is a relatively new concept for most organizations, usually less than five years old.
  • Innovation is typically practiced organizationally, not departmentally or individually.
  • The focus on innovation is largely driven by the CEO and the executive team.
  • Getting everyone on board with innovation is the responsibility of the CEO and senior-level executives.
  • The innovation plan is put into practice at the departmental level.
  • Nevertheless, there are challenges with implementing an innovation plan:

    • There is a widespread concern that there are not enough resources to implement the innovation plan(s) correctly and that, similarly, there will not be enough resources to do so in the future.
    • Goal-setting is sporadic. Most organizations do not set goals at any level – organization-wide, departmental, or individual.
    • Most associations do not reward or recognize innovation; it is simply part of the culture and an expected job responsibility.

The complete copy of the Association Innovation Benchmarking Report is now available by signing into the MGI website knowledge bank.

If you have questions about the Association Innovation Benchmarking Report, please contact Matt Kerr by phone at 703.706.0364, or by email at MKerr@MarketingGeneral.com.

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