Industry and trade associations represent a key client group of
The Evidence Network. Recently, we have found them to have a
pivotal role in innovation, outperforming governments and
universities as important sources of ideas and as collaborators of
Canadian innovators1. .
Associations are commonly nonprofit organizations that serve the
firms of a specific industry. Industry associations aim to benefit
their members and to enhance overall industrial capacity. Industry
association services to their members vary widely, by industry and
geographic region. Most commonly, they provide information or
publish materials of interest to their members. They lobby,
advertise, conduct education initiatives, collaborate on industry
standards and hold conferences, networking events and other forums
intended to stimulate interactions and flow of knowledge.
Industry and trade associations are comprised of members that
are deeply knowledgeable of their industry who place specific and
challenging demands on their association. In addition, members
commonly pay membership fees compelling them, consistent with their
private sector experience, to demand measurable high performance
from their association.
The Evidence Network's solution
Within this context, The Evidence Network provides industry and
trade associations with survey questions focusing on their key
services to clients, for example, on the impact of their networking
and convening of firms, and their ability to facilitate consensus
on key issues. Impact is elicited through survey questions that
focus on important needs of firms such as the degree to which
linkages benefited firms' product and process developments or
access to new markets. Impact of promotion and influence activities
of industry associations is also measured in areas such as
influence on government policies, on standards, and on educational
and training programs pertinent to the industry members.
1. Dalziel, M.
2006. The impact of industry associations.
Innovation: Management, Policy & Practice, 8(3):