Smith Corona was the world’s leading typewriter manufacturer from 1886 until 1981. They made great typewriters and developed many improvements over the course of nearly 100 years. However, in 1981 IBM introduced the PC, and within a few short years, Smith Corona and the typewriter had virtually disappeared. Smith Corona’s problem was that they saw the change to their business, caused by the introduction of the PC, simply as a matter of making better and better typewriters. What they failed to understand was that the world didn’t want typewriters anymore, no matter how great they were.

Smith Corona’s problem was that, when the change came, they had no capacity to innovate in response to that change. It didn’t matter that, in 1980, all their performance measures said they were doing well. Change doesn’t care how well you performed last year. It only cares how well you are capable of performing in the future.

The current business environment is characterised by disruptive innovation, changing customer needs, and slowing global trade. In this uncertain environment, it is vital that companies remain alert to new problems and new opportunities. Now, more than ever, an organisation’s innovation capacity – its ability to respond to change with new solutions – is a critical success factor. The capacity for innovation drives productivity and profitability and results in a more agile and resilient organisation. Innovation is how successful organisations respond to disruption and uncertainty.

Most organisational leaders understand that innovation is critical to their business’s growth. Only a small percentage, however, are satisfied with their organisation’s current innovation performance.

The task of developing good innovation metrics is complicated. Most assessments focus only on lagging measures of past performance. How many new ideas did we develop last year? How much did our market share increase last quarter? What most organisations lack is a leading measure of innovation capacity. How capable are we of developing new products, processes, systems and services next quarter, next year and beyond? How well placed are we to deal with disruption and change when it comes? A leading measure of innovation capacity has one critical advantage over measures of past performance: the past can’t be changed, but the future can!

Diagnosing forward-looking innovation capacity requires organisations to look beyond outputs and outcomes. The psychology of individual creativity and organisational innovation makes it clear what factors support an organisation’s ability to generate new solutions to new problems. The cognitive (thinking) skills of individuals, coupled with favourable attitudes and behaviours, all embedded in a supportive environment, are the keys to successful organisational innovation.

The good news is that these factors are all well understood and thoroughly researched. The Innovation Phase Assessment Instrument (IPAI) is Australia’s leading innovation capacity diagnostic tool.

We would like to assist you in transforming your organisation’s innovation capacity with an IPAI assessment. The IPAI uses a simple online survey of the people in your organisation to provide a detailed diagnosis of innovation strengths and challenges, tailored to your business. For an average of only 10-15 minutes per person, the IPAI provides organisational leaders with a detailed, quantitative assessment of innovation capacity. Unlike other assessment tools, which treat innovation as a one-size-fits-all process, the IPAI breaks down strengths and challenges across seven phases of the innovation process and examines innovation processes, personal qualities, and the organisational climate.

The IPAI has been used by organisations in the Advanced Manufacturing, Defence, Oil & Gas, Local Government and Education sectors to diagnose current innovation capacity and to drive organisational change for innovation success.

About Professor David Cropley:

Come and learn from Professor David Cropley, the developer of the IPAI framework, who will share observations and results of successful IPAI diagnosis and development.

David Cropley is the Professor of Engineering Innovation at the University of South Australia. His research interests lie in the measurement of product creativity; measuring innovation capacity in organisations, creativity in schools and education, creativity and innovation in terrorism and crime, and the nexus of creative problem-solving and engineering.

A recognised expert in creative problem solving and innovation, Dr David Cropley was a scientific consultant and on-screen expert for the Australian ABC TV Documentaries Redesign My Brain (2013), Life at 9 (2014) and Redesign My Brain, Series 2 (2015).

Dr Cropley is author/co-author of eight books including Homo Problematis Solvendis: Problem Solving Man – A History of Human Creativity (Springer Nature, 2019); Creativity in Engineering: Novel Solutions to Complex Problems (Academic Press, 2015); and The Psychology of Innovation in Organizations (Cambridge University Press, 2015).

Dr Cropley joined the School of Engineering at the South Australian Institute of Technology (SAIT) in 1990, after serving for four years in the United Kingdom’s Royal Navy, including a deployment to the Arabian Gulf in 1988. He has taught electronic engineering, measurement science, and systems engineering for over 30 years at the University of South Australia, and has consulted widely to industry, local government and educational institutions.