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Personal profile

Scholarly biography

Dave is the author or co-author of 31 books, 7 book chapters, 6 second-editions of books, 4 articles in management magazines, 11 journal articles in refereed publications, 6 conference papers and 9 films. His books have been translated into 12 languages. One book (the Unblocked Manager) was included in the Economist's list of Key Books for Managers. An article, written with Professor John Bessant, was selected for the Emerald Hall of Fame. His academic work focuses on innovation skills, innovation capability development, continuous improvement and, recently, innovation for poverty alleviation in the third world.

Dave has been active in professional associations for many years, including the Group Relations Training Association, the Strategic Planning Association, and the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development (of which he is a Fellow). Amongst other activities, he was the conference chairman for the Association of Management Development Annual a speaker at the Strategic Planning Society, the Hong Kong Asia Pacific Conference (keynote), the CIPD Annual Conference and the Pacific Resources Development Conference in New Zealand (keynote), and the Human Capital Conference, Foundation Chile.

Knowledge exchange

From 1997-2002 Dave worked on developing the innovative potential of small and medium sized firms in Ireland under a cross-border initiative supervised by the University of Ulster and, more recently, Donegal Enterprise Board.

1998-2001 Led Virtual University Development Team (Brighton).

From 1998-2004 he was a visiting lecturer at the Scandinavian International Management Institute in Copenhagen, teaching on their MBA programmes.

2003-2007 Worked on a series of projects with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine applying innovation management theory to the conduct of medical trials.

In 1999 he acted as a Senior Expert for a European Union initiative to develop the organisational capability of companies in the Czech Republic.

From 2001-2006 he was the External Examiner for the MSc in Innovation Management at the University of Ulster.

From 2003 to 2009 was a director of the UK Work Organisation Network.

In 2004-6 he led the team working on policy deployment in Syvania Lighting.

In 2004 assisted in the development of interventions for the Pump Cluster project.

2004 Co-Leader of Innovation Stream of the Hastings NES project for SMEs.

2006 Led the Innovation Facilitators Development Programme in Serbia.

2006-09 Co-Led the President's Prize for Innovation. British Council, Rio, Brazil.

2007 Team Member for the ProfitNet Bid.2007-8.

Led the Sustainable Enterprise Project for SEEDA.

2008 Co-leader BNDES programme in Brazil.

2010-11 Co-Led Innovation Training Workshop and Trainer Certification in Tanzania

2011 Innovation Presentation and Training for 1st Mile Group (Denmark) Trainers; Certification of Leo Menoz; Training programme for Foundation Chile.

2012-13 Led the Hubs Review Project for the MRC

2013 led the Organisational Innovation Review in BEPENSA, Mexico.

2013-4 was Lead Investigator for the External Evaluation of the MRC's Hubs for Advanced Research in Medical Trials.

2014-5 Study of Innovation in Religious Organisations (Rome).

2015 Led innovation workshop for Kent Development Agency.

2017 Prepared second edition of Step-by-Step Competitive Strategy.

2017-8 Developed Innovation-Intensive Action Learning Methodology.

2018 Produced the second edition of the Managing Innovation Audit (MIA)

2018 Undertook assessment of the Jordan University College in Tanzania to test prototype of new organisational evaluation methodology.

2018 Worked as an expert adviser to the team evaluating the innovation capability of UNICEF.

2019 Participated in the development of the Brighton Team Academy degree initiative.

2019 Undertook a research assignment to explore how not-for-profit organsations can benefit from Open Inovation.


Supervisory Interests

Dr Francis is an enthusiastic supervisor who believes that the analytical skills developed whilst undertaking academic research will be of great value whatever career the student undertakes in the future. His orientation is sociological and he has specialised in systematic use of qualitative methods, especiallly those using Layder's adaptive theory. In a supervisory role Dr Francis views PhD research as an opportunity to develop a capacity to undertake a variety of scholarly tasks with professional competence.

Research interests

Dr Francis' research interests are focused on using evidence-based theory to improve managment practice. His overall theoretical orientation is Organisational Sociology and he draws extensively from the practice area known as Organisation Development. His study of highly innovative organisations supplied the insights used in the Managing Innovation Training Programme that has been experienced by more than 10,000 managers in 19 countries. For more than two decades he has investigated the competencies required for an organisation, and its leaders, to be effectively agile. Recently, he has undertaken research into the role of open innovation in not-for-profit organisations and he is exploring the interdependencies between entrepreneurship, change, organisation development and innovation managment. He has recently completed a study of the styles used by Change Agents and is preparing this study for publication.

Approach to teaching

Having spent much of his career either being a manager or advising on organisation development, Dave seeks to use academic research to improve the quality of managment. He draws from the discipline of Sociology (his first degree) but has been highly influenced by humanistic personal development methodologies. He was one of the first to practice as an Organisation Development Change Agent in the UK and worked with more than 500 organisations as a strategy coach before undertaking his PhD studies in CENTRIM in the 1990s.

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, University of Brighton

PhD, International Management Centres Association

Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development

University of Leicester

External positions

Chairman: SOFIA GLOBAL Advisory Board, SOFIA Global

2015 → …

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Research Output

Open Enterprises and Social Enterprises: Introducing the 123Go! Process

Francis, D., 17 Jan 2019, Proceedings: Social Enterprise and Open Innovation Conference: Exploring a World of Opportunity. p. 1-10 10 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNConference contribution with ISSN or ISBN

Open Access
  • The Auditing of Agile Capability: Revisiting CENTRIM’s Agile Wheel Model

    Francis, D., 12 Oct 2017, Auditing Agility. IIA Belgium, p. 1-14 14 p.

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNConference contribution with ISSN or ISBN

    Open Access
  • Introducing a 3-Level Approach for the Identification and Analysis of Impacts on Modern Heritage Sites: the Case of the Campus of the Ciudad Universitaria de Caracas

    Francis, D. & Salas, A., 1 Jan 2016, 14th International conference Adaptive reuse, the modern movement towards the future. Lisbon: Docomomo international, p. 342-347 6 p.

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNConference contribution with ISSN or ISBN

    Using marketing theory to inform strategies for recruitment: a recruitment optimisation model and the txt2stop experience

    Galli, L., Knight, R. C., Robertson, S., Hoile, E., Oladapo, O., Francis, D. & Free, C., 15 Jun 2014, In : Trials. 15, 182

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access

    A Practical Tool for Managing Cultural Change During A Maintenance Transformation

    Francis, D. & Wilkinson, A., 15 Oct 2013, SMRP Conference Proceedings. Society for Maintenance & Reliability Professionals, p. 1-7 7 p.

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNConference contribution with ISSN or ISBN