2018 Association Innovation Benchmarking Report

October 17, 2018   |   Vol. 17   |   Issue 10
Tony Rossell, MGI Senior Vice President

2018 Association Innovation Benchmarking Report

Innovation is all about taking chances. Yet, that is often easier said than done. What encourages some to take chances? What causes others to balk at the opportunity?

Those are the questions that Marketing General Incorporated (MGI) asked association professionals, in conjunction with our client the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), for the 2018 Association Innovation Benchmarking Report.

In its second year, association professionals were invited to share their thoughts on a variety of innovation-related issues facing their organizations. We received 234 unique survey responses.

The findings in this second edition of this research reveal how associations have developed a clearer concept and practice of innovation. 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 have found that innovation is increasingly an established practice and is driven at the organization level, not departmentally or individually. Furthermore, more associations are including innovation efforts in their annual budgets.

Associations also report challenges with implementing an innovation plan, including widespread concern that there are not enough resources to implement the innovation opportunities and an increasing concern that they are not fast enough with new innovations.

Other key findings from this year’s report include:

  • While the definition of innovation varies, the two most common interpretations involve creating a product or benefit that provides value to members (75%) and solving a member’s currently unsolved problems (69%).
  • 31% of associations began innovation at least five years ago, up from 27% in 2016, thus suggesting a longer-term adherence to innovation policies.
  • Associations are increasingly more likely in 2018 to set formal association-wide goals related to innovation (41% vs. 35%) and to set goals yearly (61% vs. 56%).
  • Many of the top sources for new innovation ideas remain virtually unchanged from previous research, but vendors are more likely to provide new ideas than two years ago (28% vs. 21%).
  • Cross-departmental cooperation is the primary – and quickly increasing – source of manpower for innovation projects (49% vs. 40%).

For a copy of the complete Association Innovation Benchmarking Report please download it from the MGI website at www.marketinggeneral.com/knowledge-bank/reports/. For more information on innovative opportunities for your association, please email Tony Rossell at Tony@MarketingGeneral.com.

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