As a senior lecturer in Sheffield University Management School’s Institute of Work Psychology, Dr Kamal Birdi is used to communicating his highly regarded research to groups of students. However, recently his work has reached a professional audience.
After an excellent interview on BBC Radio 4’s programme ‘Bobbies on the Tweet’, which discussed how police are fighting crime using the popular social media platform Twitter, Dr Birdi has had much involvement with local organisations, as well as the ESRC Festival of Social Science.
Two events in November called on Dr Birdi’s expertise and were part of the national Festival, organised annually by the ESRC. The first, held at The Circle, Sheffield, was a one-day CLEAR IDEAS creativity training workshop. Attendees numbered 18 and came from third sector organisations including SCOPE, Sheffield Cubed and St Luke’s Hospice. Feedback from the event, which saw participants tackling challenges such as recruiting a more diverse board and creating fundraising events, was overwhelmingly positive, with comments including ‘some of the best training I’ve been to’, and ‘I hope to champion this within my organisation’.
The second ESRC event saw Dr Birdi invited to speak at Aston Business School. His talk was titled ‘But I’m not Creative…’, in which he evaluated the role of creativity training in promoting organisational innovation. Of the talk, Dr Birdi said: “I reviewed the research on creativity training in organisations and discussed the practical experience of running my CLEAR IDEAS workshops in organisations for the past eight years. Other speakers at the event, which had a theme of ‘Organisational Innovation, People Management and Sustained Performance’, came from as far afield as the USA, Denmark, Portugal and China.”
Dr Birdi also teaches on the Sheffield City Region Leadership Programme, which includes delegates from South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue (SYFR). Having experienced the impact his CLEAR IDEAS framework has had on their staff who have graduated from the programme, they invited Dr Birdi to facilitate a creative ideas session for middle-managers, after they were given a task from senior managers to come up with new suggestions on reducing SYFR’s transport costs, ensuring firefighters are kept up-to-date with training and that key knowledge wasn’t lost when people left the organisation.
The session (pictured right) was a great success.