McKeon Group: Teaching, Learning & Measuring Innovation

McKeon Group: Teaching, Learning & Measuring Innovation



Last month we were delighted to announce that McKeon Group has been approved as a registered training provider with Engineers Ireland. We are now in a position to offer our exciting and thought provoking CPD ‘Innovate Together’ to our large range of clients and colleagues in the construction industry. This live online or in-person, problem-solving, collaborative experience enables participants to apply key creativity and innovation concepts to real world engineering problems and opportunities. Each CPD offered shall be tailored to a specific audience based around the key themes of Design Thinking, Lean Startup and Business Model Innovation to frame a specific problem or opportunity in the given engineering domain or area of interest. You can find more information about this CPD offering here: 


When it comes to industry innovation, we firmly believe that the culture of innovation does not belong to startups or newly-established organisations. As a third generation business, McKeon Group thrives on innovation, but it is not something that we take for granted. We value innovation and, perhaps more importantly, we adequately resource it. And now, we teach it and we measure how successful it can be.


So when Blade Kotelly published an article titled ‘Innovation Can Be Taught. And Measured’ (link to  the  full article here:, it caught our attention. 


The author starts by acknowledging that:


 As a culture, we’re in love with the idea of genius. We point to people like Steve Jobs and Edison and think: They must be born with it. That type of innovation can’t be taught…” 


There is no denying that thinking differently comes naturally to some, but every person has the ability to be more innovative. In the above article, Kotelly describes innovation as a baseline requirement for survival for many industries today and he does not accept the premise that innovation cannot be measured. While he acknowledges that highly innovative individuals and teams tend to share certain capabilities and innate behaviours, he believes that these capabilities and behaviours can “most certainly” be taught, learned and measured. 


In his article above, Kotelly, outlines five things business leaders need to be aware of as they drive innovation within their organisations: 


1. Innovation Is Not Creativity

These are terms that are routinely – and incorrectly – used interchangeably.  There is an important distinction between innovation and creativity, and this distinction becomes even more apparent in a team and/or enterprise setting. Of the two, creativity is more innate, whereas innovation, according to Kotelly, is about harnessing a set of tools that enable the discovery of new ideas with the intention of getting the highest possible value out of both the ideas and the ideators. 


2. Intellect and Emotions Matter

There is a direct link between how emotionally open a person is and their ability to problem-solve in an innovative way. Kotelly explains that while we have all learned to react to stimuli differently, people who have a calmer reaction to problems are more likely to see them as opportunities for innovation and to take action. He goes further to say that if you learn to do this at work when a problem arises, you will likely be in a much better position to innovate.

3. Innovation Requires Both Invention and Advocacy

This is perhaps the most obvious, yet overlooked consideration. Kotelly points out that new ideas alone are not enough to spur innovation; teams and individuals must be also able to promote and advocate for those ideas. 

4. Bad Habits Can Be Overcome

This is arguably the most interesting consideration for organisation leaders. Kotelly states that innovation is often a matter of how a person adapts to different situations, which is something that can be taught – even to leaders and employees who have not demonstrated particularly innovative behaviours in the past.

5. Different Teams Need Different Levels of Innovation

This is a tricky one. Innovative organisations advocate for innovation across the entire organisation, however, the reality is that different functions and departments will likely require different levels of innovation. Kotelly makes the excellent point that everyone within the organisation needs a basic understanding of innovation to ensure that they do not squash innovation by accident. 


It is definitely worth reading Kotelly’s article in full: And if you wish to discuss innovation in the context of Ireland’s construction and real estate sectors, talk to the team at McKeon Group about bespoke, CPD accredited, innovation sessions for your organisation.


About McKeon Group:

Established in 1950, this year marks the 70th anniversary of McKeon Group, which remains a family business. ISO certified for more than two decades, McKeon Group offers expert construction, fitout and building services. The Group delivers projects, services and maintenance across a range of sectors for State, local authority, FDI and private clients. For more information, contact:


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