The whole story
The BBC has R&D at its heart. Its ability to attract, retain and deploy engineering talent has made a significant contribution to its global reputation for innovation and excellence.
But this is also an organisation in constant change. Change that’s driven both by outside forces and an internal desire to get and stay ahead of the industry. That pressure and desire to change brings with it a lot of scrutiny.
In this context, our client wanted to ensure that it was creating the optimum conditions for resilient, responsive and innovative R&D. Their problem: when it comes to these factors, how do you create accurate, actionable benchmarks?
Can you measure the capacity to innovate?
Within WorkForces is a tool called the Creative Effectiveness Index. It enables accurate measurement of how well a culture is geared for innovation excellence, in a way that guides profitable interventions in team performance.
We designed the Index to measure innovation potential not by asking people what they think (a sure-fire way to get misleading data), but by using psychological techniques specifically designed to determine what they really think and feel. It measures seven key attributes that characterise the most effective workplace cultures, such as autonomy, risk-taking, vision buy-in, openness and conflict management.
We deployed the Index across the BBC’s entire R&D function, gathering data and consulting with senior leadership throughout the process to ensure that insight was tailored precisely to their needs.
Using the data we established accurate, numeric benchmarks for the function’s innovation potential. We demonstrated the relationships that existed between innovation potential and key factors such tenure, location and seniority. Finally, we advised leaders on specific development challenges and opportunities that existed in different geographical locations.
Accurate data can be an uncomfortable read. During the debrief process, some of the participants questioned in detail the research findings. But by demonstrating the academic rigour behind the tool we convinced them of the findings’ accuracy. As we always say, fact trumps opinion.
Using our work, the BBC leadership was able to plan and execute a highly targeted series of development interventions. They saved time and money, and protected the excellence on which the Corporation has been built.
The key insights
- Contrary to received wisdom, it is possible to measure an organisation’s capacity for innovation.
- Innovation potential is driven by factors that aren’t commonly measured, including autonomy, risk-taking and conflict management.
- When appraising the value of data, it is helpful to interrogate the methodology behind its collection.