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To Measure or to Learn? Why are we afraid of Benchmarking for learning?

Participant Hina Lotia of Pakistan at the CPR-CRISP-LINK organised workshop on benchmarking rural innovation capacity in New Delhi on August 19-20, 2009.

We have just run a very enjoyable workshop on benchmarking rural innovation. What I found interesting was that the country reports on innovation illustrated, very clearly, that innovation is often invisible (at least at an early stage) and is much more concerned with process and innovation trajectories than specific skills or artifacts. Also the main gap is between lessons from innovation practice and policies to promote innovation. And there was broad agreement about this. But when we came to discuss how to benchmark rural innovation capacity many of us felt that benchmarking for measuring capacity was still at least as if not more important than benchmarking for sharing lessons. I wonder if we really need the security blanket of measuring and why we fear learning so much?

Andy Hall

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The invisibility of innovation discourse reminds me this publication:Pascale, Richard T., and Jerry Sternin. 2005. "Your Company's Secret Change Agent." Harvard Business Review May 2005.

This literature is based on the concept of positive deviancy and the paper argues that there are people who think and work differently. However, such individuals and their practices are often overlooked or even labeled as a deviant behaviour.

If innovation is invisible, how can we benchmark innovation capacity?

I would love to learn more about this. The workshop must have discussion around this question of how!

a guest
September 08, 2009

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