Innovation & Change

Written by Grant Heinrich, 14 May 2020

The Challenge

Some experts embrace their role in instigating innovation and change initiatives – but, for want of any formal learning in these areas – underestimate the degree of disruption this causes in other stakeholders’ lives. They are taken aback by the resistance they face. Initiatives end up taking much longer to implement than if effective engagement and change management had been deployed alongside implementation plans. Sometimes the lack of adequate buy in altogether derails an initiative or results in a diminishing of anticipated results.

At other times, there are experts who adopt a sceptical – or cynical – oppositional stance to all change. Rather than considering how they might best support a change initiative – or even take a leadership role – they critique what they see as the flaws in how the change has been conceived of, planned, announced, enacted.

Similarly, some experts delight in leading the way with anticipating emerging business requirements and being at the forefront of innovation – prioritising research, providing thought leadership, engaging in continuous improvement, etc. Whereas others can be so invested in their presumed current best practice that they altogether miss “next practice”.

Our view is that most experts would benefit enormously from both considering their roles in such areas as innovation and change – as well as familiarising themselves with proven tools that aid effectiveness in these important areas.

The Content

In this pod session, your team member discussed and explored with their fellow podsters:

  • Participants examine innovation as a process that they can drive rather than viewing it as something mystical that just happens due to placing funky coloured bean bags and ping pong tables in workplaces. The module includes one or more case studies regarding best practice innovation firms and the adoption of the SCAN-FOCUS-ACT methodology.

  • No matter how well articulated a case for change is – and how necessary a change initiative is – change initiatives invariably trigger predictable emotional responses. Smooth implementation and swift benefits realisation largely depends upon the extent to which “hearts and minds” are brought on the journey. Experts are often surprised at how often they are the ones who are introducing new practices which can unsettle stakeholders and have often given little thought as to how to best get “hearts and minds” on board. This module explores what roles experts believe they need to play in the change process (leading, supporting, catalysing, etc.). It examines the typical change curve of emotional reactions when people encounter change. And it looks at a range of change management practices that experts might find useful in achieving greater buy in, swifter and smoother implementations and realisation of intended outcomes.

The Punchlines

  • Experts are likely at the heart of many change and innovation initiatives – but may not realise it. Or they should be and their non-recognition of this and neglect of assuming such a leadership responsibility may well be impeding their organisation – or at least their function.

  • Creating conditions for innovation does not have to be rocket science. Scanning for the right information – circulating it and prompting relevant parties to digest it and convene to discuss its implications; shortlisting the emerging opportunities from the SCAN phase so as to FOCUS on what is most advantageous and then ACTing (via prototyping, proof of concepts) is something that anyone can do if they make it a priority. Naturally the conversations need facilitating in a manner that encourages ideas rather than quashes them.

  • Changes needn’t be ugly or purely a specialist domain of dedicated change consultants. Any time we’re introducing anything new into the organisation, we can consider such questions as “Who will be impacted and how?” “How are they likely to be respond?” “What concerns and doubts and questions are they likely to have and how might I best address these?” “How might I convey the potential benefits of the change such that people feel inclined to take it on board and contribute constructively?”