Forecasting a Competency Model for Innovation Leaders Using a Modified Delphi Technique

Open Access
Gliddon, David Gregory
Graduate Program:
Workforce Education and Development
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Date of Defense:
February 02, 2006
Committee Members:
  • William J Rothwell, Committee Chair/Co-Chair
  • David Lynn Passmore, Committee Member
  • Cynthia Pellock, Committee Member
  • Edgar Paul Yoder, Committee Member
  • Innovation
  • Innovate
  • Innovative
  • Competency
  • Competency Model
  • Leaders
  • Leader
  • Leadership
  • Leading
  • Delphi
  • Diffusion
Leaders are the engines for envisioning and creating innovative products and services in organizations (Reeves-Ellington, 1998). However, some leaders still lack the ability to plan, measure, and implement innovative products and services. Innovation leaders are Roger’s (1995) innovators, early adopters, opinion leaders, and change agents. In this study, experts in innovation leadership participated in a Modified Delphi methodology to forecast a competency model that can be used as a foundation for future innovation research from the individualist perspective. As this perspective was the least developed of the three suggested by Slappender (1996), it was necessary to define categories of focus through an extensive literature review and environmental scanning. The three iteration Delphi methodology included two pilot studies. Measures of statistical and Delphic agreement were developed using 50 previous competency studies. Support for Delphic agreement was evident in both iteration two and iteration three; each of the eight proposed hypotheses was supported. An increase in the level of agreement from iteration two to three was initial support for the theory that the Delphi methodology would encourage convergence of the participant ratings. The Mann-Whitney U test showed no difference between the distributions of ratings in iteration three, thus adding support to the Kendall’s W measures of increased levels of agreement in iteration three. Krippendorf’s alpha reliability and Cronbach’s alpha reliability supported the theory that both the content analysis procedure and surveys were reliable. The competency model of innovation leaders establishes and presents three tiers of 98 competencies in ten categories. The individualist perspective, given foundation with this study, is still in its infancy. The researcher suggests future research projects to bring the individualist perspective to fruition. A measurement tool for innovation leaders can be developed to analyze a leader’s competencies and compare them to the competencies set forth in the model. A selection tool for innovation leaders can be developed for human resource professionals so that organizations can recruit, hire, and retain talented innovation leaders.