His work on creativity and innovation in the workplace has gained momentum over the last decade, and with the launch of a CLEAR IDEAS iPad app earlier this year, Dr Kamal Birdi’s work on the framework is starting to make a significant impact on public services in the Sheffield City Region.
The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) have highlighted Kamal’s study as a key impact case-study on their website, focusing on how the CLEAR IDEAS innovation development model has improved cost-efficiency in service delivery for public sector organisations, leading to savings of £1.7million for social care services in Sheffield.
Kamal explained the benefits of the CLEAR IDEAS framework to us: “CLEAR IDEAS is a way of tackling problems more creatively. It’s not just a way of helping you come up with more ideas; it will also help you pick which ideas to take forward and will assist you in putting those ideas into practice more effectively.
“Lots of innovations or creative efforts fail because the individual doesn’t come up with enough original ideas, doesn’t know how to pick which ideas to take forward, can’t get buy-in to their ideas or know how to implement them.
“As a result, some potentially great ideas fail because creativity and innovation aren’t taken into account well enough. So what the CLEAR IDEAS approach does is it helps develop the skills and knowledge in people in terms of how to tackle problems creatively, and come up with an innovation. The app is a way of embedding that process that you can carry out yourself – give it a problem, and it will take you through ten steps you need to go through to come up with new ideas, picking those ideas, and coming up with a strategy for implementing them.”
Now Kamal has trained over 1,000 individuals worldwide, the benefits have become tangible – key successes from the ESRC piece are highlighted below:
- An estimated £1.7million saving was made by Sheffield City Council by introducing cost-effective and more efficient practices in the delivery of adult social care services.
- South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue used CLEAR IDEAS’s creative-thinking techniques to make improvements in the fitting of 19,000 smoke alarms, with a cost-saving in materials alone of 3p per unit. In addition, the simple and effective solution which was adopted led to a reduced need for trained staff when refitting previously poorly-installed smoke alarms.
- CLEAR IDEAS techniques were used to influence the adoption of an alternative drug for gastric medication in Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust. Savings of £10,000 per year were estimated to have been made by the Trust, due to more accurate administration, dosage and patient compliance.
- A training resource including the CLEAR IDEAS model was developed in 2010 to enhance the leadership and skills of public sector managers and employees. Since introduction, 216 people from local councils, NHS Trusts, the police, fire and rescue service, educational institutions and other local services have participated.