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About KAI

KAI is widely hailed as one of the most robust and insightful measures available to management and team-building experts. KAI is a measure of cognitive style, using a continuum of Adaption and Innovation.

Developed over the past 40 years, Adaption- Innovation (A-I) Theory and KAI have an unrivalled pedigree in the field of cognitive style, supported by over 340 refereed articles and 100 post-graduate theses. (More about KAI Theory)

From its original academic background, KAI has been widely adopted by management consultants and HR professionals. KAI is used extensively in corporations and organizations around the world, including many universities and military training centers.

KAI, Cognitive Style and Leadership

KAI provides you with insight into how people solve problems and interact while making decisions. This enables you to improve the dynamics and output of your teams, while reducing stress and improving productivity.

Understanding differences in cognitive style empowers you to offer effective leadership, by enabling personnel to work in their preferred style. This reduces stress, increases efficiency, and improves the working environment for all your people.

Understanding and acting on cognitive style will help you to retain the best staff, and get better performance from your teams.

"KAI is a powerful, simple and eloquent tool. We use it in a broad range of applications from individual career coaching, team-building, and creative problem solving, to organization structure design. The bottom line is: applying KAI is paying off in improved productivity." 

KAI and its use

KAI measures preferred style of problem solving and creativity. It is used for:

KAI Certification

As a Certificated KAI Practitioner you will be able to administer and use the KAI inventory, an effective and highly marketable psychometric inventory. KAI is provided online, or as a paper form, and is available in a range of languages.

The KAI Certification Course is a 4 1/2 day course that offers a fresh, inspirational approach to problem solving and leadership. The KAI Certification Course is ideal for people who are:

Advanced Workshops

Advanced Workshops are for KAI Practitioners who wish to update their KAI Certification after four years of using the KAI. KAI Practitioners do not need to attend the Certification Course in order to attend the Advanced Workshop. To register, go to the Registration page.

KAI Symposium
February 24-25, 2021 - Register!

The Center for Cooperative Problem Solving, at Virginia Tech, in partnership with the KAI Distribution Centre, will be hosting its first KAI Symposium, celebrating 45 years of KAI and Kirton’s Adaption-Innovation Theory. You will learn more about how one’s problem-solving style applies to creativity, remote work, health and health care, systems thinking, science of teams, military training, leadership, management of change, recruitment and diversity, culture, process and technique, and product/service development

The Symposium is scheduled February 24th through the 25th, 2021, and is open for ALL to attend!

Download the Call for Abstracts - Due January 4th, 2021

The event will be held completely online, following Eastern Standard Time, and will incorporate opportunities for networking, chatting, and discussing the latest insights with KAI practitioners from around the world.

If you would like to learn more about how one's problem-solving style applies to creativity, remote work, health and health care, systems thinking, science of teams, military training, leadership, management of change, recruitment and diversity, culture, process and technique, and product/service development, we encourage you to attend.

KAI Certification ***

March 22 – 25, 2021
Online - Eastern Daylight Time (EDT)

Register Now!
(Space is limited)

KAI Symposium

February 24-25, 2021
Online - Eastern Standard Time (EST)

Register Now!

Ask about our institutional discount.

What is your problem-solving style?

Adaption - Innovation Continuum

More Adaptive
  • Perceived as sound, conforming, and intolerant of ambiguity
  • Tendency to seek solutions within the system
  • Aimed at “doing things better”
  • Prefer well-established, structured situations
More Innovative
  • Perceived as exciting, risky and a threat to the established system
  • Tendency to seek solutions from outside the system
  • Aimed at "doing things differently"
  • Prefer less structured situations
Diversity of problem solving styles is needed
to address complex issues.

Note: To be certified, participants must attend the entire course and pass the end of course exam. There will be evening work on days 2, 3 and 4, which must be completed and will be assessed. The pre-course reading includes the book 'Adaption-Innovation in the Context of Diversity & Change’ of which chapters 1, 2 & 3 are critical. Also, to maintain your qualification you will need to attend an Advanced Workshop every four years, and have administered at least 100 KAIs over each four year period (otherwise full re-certification is required).

*** KAI certification training is only being offered in the United States by Virginia Tech at this time.

KAI Certification Course Content

The KAI Certification Course includes a thorough grounding in Adaption-Innovation theory. The course includes case studies, exercises and an exam. Topics covered in the course include:

During the course you will:

For questions regarding course content, contact Dr. Curt Friedel - cfriedel@vt.edu - Tel: (540) 231-8177