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Inaugural CMCE Consulting Research Conference a great success!

The inaugural CMCE Consulting Research Conference was held on 21 November in the impressive surroundings of Goodenough College in Central London. Some 70 practitioners, academics, students and others from the world of management consultancy came together to share leading edge thinking in management consultancy.  The programme for the Conference focused on presentations from the winners of the CMCE Consulting Research Awards in 2019. The categories and winners were:

Technology and consulting: the application of new technologies and their relevance to consultancy.

Winning entry: ’Building dynamic capabilities for digital transformation: An ongoing process of strategic renewal.’ Karl Warner and Maximilian Wäger.

The citation from the judges said: ‘This research is founded on empirical evidence from senior executives in a number of large organisations that are addressing strategic change, along with the leaders of global management consulting companies providing advice on such change. The findings are highly relevant and provide a practical model for any consultant advising organisations that are seeking to build the agility required to successfully embrace digital transformation.’

Client-consultant relationships: issues around governance, trust, integrity, social responsibility and ethics and the implications of these for consultancy

Winning entry: ‘Promoting solutions and co-constructing problems – management consultancy and instrument constituencies.’ Andrew Sturdy

The judges said: ’A thoughtful and reflective analysis of the way in which clients and consultants work together to structure problems and develop solutions. While the conclusions will be unsurprising to the experienced consultant, the paper will be of value to clients, consultants and academics in throwing light on the professional practice of management consultants in their engagement with client organisations.’

The changing environment of the consultant: the demands that changes in society and the business environment are placing on consultants and the need for new skills to complement the consultant’s timeless ‘soft skills’ and new methodologies.

Winning entry: ‘Management control in UK innovation companies.’ Robert Luther, Ellen Haustein and Gail Webber

The judges said: ‘This research captured data from 78 UK companies about the nature of management controls that facilitate innovation. The findings will be of direct value both to management consulting companies in respect of their own operations, and to enhancing their advice to client organisations seeking to improve their capacity to develop and implement innovations.’

Those present were able to discuss all the presentations with each other during the afternoon sharing their own experiences.

Professor Michael Mainelli, founder of consultancy Z/Yen, a Fellow of Goodenough College and recently elected Sheriff of the City of London gave the keynote address on the importance of research to management consulting. In a stimulating address he advised that we should admit our ignorance, promote the scientific method in consultancy, and ask great questions. He concluded that most of all, we should have fun. ‘Good research well done is enormous fun. You learn all the time, and once in a while have a chance to change the world. What can beat that?’

The Conference concluded with a reception at which the Master presented the Urwick Cup for outstanding research to Award winners Karl Warner and Maximilian Wäger for their research paper.   All concluded that the Conference had been a great success! And for those of you who already are filling in your diaries for 2020, next year’s Conference will be on 10 November.

In the meantime, we will shortly be publishing proceedings from the Conference, and early in next year will be seeking nominations for the CMCE Research Awards 2020.