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Clients say...

Having looked at several practitioners of the Ekvall criteria, I have been delighted to work with Mark and the Dolphin Organization to evaluate BBI’s culture for change and creativity. Mark has combined excellent, pragmatic business realism, with the passion to drive 21st century business growth, and he communicates this in a way that has engaged every level of the business and been truly inspirational. If you are looking to the future for you and your business, you need to do this!

Peter Corish, Head of Business Development, BBI Group

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FAQs

What is the history of the Index?

The Dolphin Index is built upon the ground breaking work of Professor Göran Ekvall, who for many years conducted research examining the links between organisational climate and creativity and innovation. Originally the Dolphin Index (then called the ‘Innovation Climate Questionnaire’) was an English language translation of Ekvall’s Creative Climate Questionnaire. However, we have continued to refine and develop our measures based on our own original research. We have significantly expanded the scope of the original questionnaire to embrace other critical facets of climate.

So far, we have added four additional scales that are important in team, departmental and organizational creativity and innovation. We have added ‘stress’, ‘shared view’, ‘pay recognition’, and ‘work recognition’, while two other new scales (‘idea-proliferation’ and ‘positive relationships’) are modifications of Ekvall's original ‘debates’, ‘trust’, and ‘conflicts’ dimensions. These changes are the result of our continuing substantial data collection plus analysis and our own research into what team, departmental and organizational climate makes for higher levels of creativity and innovation.

But surely not everyone is creative?

If your stereotype of a creative person is of some wild, frenzied, ‘out of the proverbial box’, dishevelled artist or boffin then you may be right. However our definition of creativity allows for both evolutionary creativity – as in doing things better – and revolutionary creativity – as in doing things differently. And which is best? Both are best. And in most environments you want to nurture both kinds of creativity. So maybe we need to rethink our stereotype of ‘creative’. Yes your smart suited actuary, accountant or bank manager is creative. And they may even be revolutionary in their creativity too.

How does the Dolphin Index compare with other similar tools?

Mathisen and Einarsen (2004) provided a review of the available instruments for measuring work environments conducive for creativity and innovation. This review highlighted five key measures: KEYS, CCQ, SOQ, TCI and SSSI. It is worth noting that the CCQ and SOQ are primarily the same questionnaire. Moreover, the Dolphin Index was developed from the CCQ, but has improved and added dimensions. The measures and the dimensions that each of these measures include are shown in Table 1 below. As Table 1 shows the Dolphin Index includes all the factors that are assessed by the other measures. Furthermore the Dolphin Index also includes factors not included in these other measures, but those which the literature and our own research have demonstrated are crucial in organisational innovation. Therefore the Dolphin Index is the most comprehensive measure of innovative climate available.

Moreover, some dimensions included in other measures such as ‘Support’ in the TCI or ‘Resources’ in the KEYS measure are separated out into distinct dimensions in the Dolphin Index. For example ‘Idea Support’ and ‘Idea Time’ are separate dimensions in the DI, but not in some other measures. These are clearly separate constructs within an organisation and therefore need to be evaluated separately. Providing ‘support for the generation of ideas’ is different from allowing ‘the time to generate ideas’. For an organisation to encourage and enhance creativity it needs both. Other measures would collapse these dimensions under a more general ‘Support/Encouragement’ dimension. So far, we have added four additional scales to the original CCQ/SOQ that are important in team, departmental and organisational creativity and innovation. We have added ‘Stress’, ‘Shared View’, ‘Pay Recognition’, and ‘Work Recognition’, while two other new scales, ‘Idea-proliferation’ and ‘Positive Relationships’ are modifications of Ekvall's original ‘Debates’, ‘Trust’, and ‘Conflicts’ dimensions. These changes are the result of our continuing substantial data collection plus analysis and our own research into what team, departmental and organisational climate makes for higher levels of creativity and innovation.

Table 1. Measures for assessing the climate for innovation.

DIKEYSCCQSOQTCISSSI*
Commitment Supervisory Encouragement Challenge Challenge Support Personal commitment
Freedom Freedom /Autonomy Freedom Freedom
Idea Support Organisational Encouragement / Resources Idea Support Idea Support Support Support for Creativity
Positive Relationships Supervisory Encouragement / Work group Encouragement Trust, Conflicts Trust, Conflicts Participative Safety Tolerance of Difference
Dynamism Pressures Challenge, Dynamism Challenge Participative Safety
Playfulness Playfulness /Humour Playfulness /Humour
Idea proliferation Workgroup encouragement Debates Debates
Stress
Risk taking Organisational Encouragement Risk taking Risk taking Task orientation
Idea time Resources Idea time Idea time Support
Shared view Work group Encouragement Vision
Pay recognition Resources/ Organisational Encouragement Support
Work recognition Organisational Encouragement Support

* Siegel Scale of Support for Innovation

Therefore, this brief summary has demonstrated how the Dolphin Index compares to the other available measures and shows itself to be an improvement on all of these other measures. The large database and comprehensive norm set further highlight the benefits of the Dolphin Index to an organisation.

References

Hülsheger, U. R., Anderson, N. & Salgado, J. F. (2009). Team-level predictors of innovation at work: A comprehensive meta-analysis spanning three decades of research. Journal of Applied Psychology, 94(5), 1128-1145.

Methisen, G. E. & Einarsen, S. (2004). A review of instruments assessing creative and innovative environments within organizations. Creativity Research Journal, 16(1), 119-140.

How reliable and valid is the Dolphin Index?

Reliability is about the consistency with which the measure assesses something - the Dolphin Index assesses a number of dimensions of organisational climate (13 in total) and each demonstrates high reliability.

Validity is about whether the measure actually measures what it says. We take research seriously and understand its importance and as a consequence we continually examine the validity of what we do and the tools we use. We chose to develop this measure because it had demonstrated that it could differentiate stagnant from successfully innovative organisations based on their climate - so we already knew the measure was valid. Since then, we have improved and developed it further. We currently know that the Dolphin Index differentiates between high and low innovative organisations, we know that it relates to turnover intention and employee satisfaction and we also know that it relates to employees feelings about creativity and innovation. Therefore we are sure that the Dolphin Index is also a valid measure of climate for creativity and innovation.

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Comments

Having looked at several practitioners of the Ekvall criteria, I have been delighted to work with Mark and the Dolphin Organization to evaluate BBI’s culture for change and creativity. Mark has combined excellent, pragmatic business realism, with the passion to drive 21st century business growth, and he communicates this in a way that has engaged every level of the business and been truly inspirational. If you are looking to the future for you and your business, you need to do this!

Peter Corish, Head of Business Development, BBI Group

The great thing about the Dolphin Index is the opportunity to benchmark your climate against the world outside - and get feedback that says 'It doesn't have to be like that!'

David Mayle, Head of the Open University Business School's Centre for Innovation, Knowledge & Enterprise

The Dolphin Index is a really useful tool for clearly identifying our strengths and areas for improvement.

Jo North, Commercial Director, Northern Rail

The Dolphin Index has been an important tool in Nestle Rowntree’s strategy to develop a broad innovation culture across the business and to remove the mystique that so often surrounds creativity and innovation.

Creativity Development Manager, Nestle Rowntree

The Dolphin Index is the ideal tool for assessing your climate and so for understanding the levers to pull so as to make the enterprise more dynamic, innovative and successful.

Nick Gurney, Former CEO Bristol City Council

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