Monday, February 24, 2014

Business Survival Skill V: Reaching for Innovative Change

Change is never an easy thing to do personally or institutionally. In fact it is the most challenging issue we all face in the future, but the stakes will be higher and the complexity will grow over the coming years and decades. My favorite change methodology is ADKAR, but it also will need extensions to be effective going forward. There are three areas of extension and adaptation that need to happen besides just adapting to any one organizations culture. The first is to "seek ye first innovation", the second is expand  beyond "just employees" and the third is to infuse short incremental cycles now afforded by new technologies emerging for the digital organization.

Seeking Innovation in Change:

Much of change is aimed at effective change rather than innovative change. While we should not throw the baby out with the bath, there is a need to move away from waterfall methods in implementing change. The problem with change methods is they are aimed at completion and perfection. We need to add innovation to these proven change methods and innovation needs to be the end game of the results of the actual change. Innovation in both of these directions has been neglected. This has to change for the digit organization to be successful.

Expanding the Effect of Change:

Most change methods and efforts are aimed at employees. While this may have worked in the past, the new world includes value chain partners and customers as key stake holders in the change process. Innovation, again, will have to be shown in truly involving these parties in the initial change and any ongoing adjustments, Myopic views of change impact are just too limiting for the digital organization.

Changing at the Speed of Digital:

Most change methods assume that technology and people will get in the way of effective change. The digital age employs incrementally changeable technology that allows organizations to "do it, try it & fix it" in rapid cycles. Digital approaches can actively enable change rather than slow it down. Instead of trying to "boil the frog slowly", we need to get the frog involved with planning and preparing the menu.

Net; Net:

If you think you can sit on the sideline and ignore change in the digital age, you are sadly mistaken. It's like an airplane; either you fly it or it flies you. The digital age gets technology on board and out of the way, so we better aim it at innovation to capitalize for our about to be digital organizations.

Additional posts in the series are:

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