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Manage Change

 
 

Innovation means change and changes required by innovation can be either trivial or profound.

Innovation related change can mean doing ‘different things’ or doing ‘things differently’. For managers in particular it sometimes requires a fundamental shift in how they think. It might require the adoption of new values or the development of a new culture for the organization.

The easiest changes to manage are those involving new products and processes, though even these are subject to natural resistance and the vagaries of human nature. Harder to manage changes are those that require a fundamental shift in perception about the business you are in, the markets you serve or the business models you employ. It is not easy to change thinking about where good ideas come from, the role of clients and business partners in co-creating the future, the work of managers or the role of entrepreneurs, but it may be essential for progress.

Change requires effort and change takes time. It is the dark-side of radical innovation and it must be managed.

Fortunately there are many tools, theories and models to guide managers in this work and an increasingly important body of case-studies that provide useful points of reference.

Important contributions to thinking about how to manage include:
   • Gleicher, Beckhard and Harris with their ‘change model formula’ …
   • Pettigrew and Whipp, who described the three ‘Dimensions of Strategic Change’ and outlined 5 five central interrelated factors belonging to successfully managing strategic change …
   • Wilfried Krüger with his change management ‘iceberg’ that shed light on sources of resistance to change and what managers need to do to overcome them …
   • Rolf Smith who provided a strategy for creativity, innovation and continuous improvement in terms of the ‘7 Levels of Change’ …
   • John Kotter’s analysis of why change fails, his ‘six approaches’ to change and his ‘8 step’ process to deal with it …
   • Watts Humphrey and his numerous collaborators who developed and codified the ‘Capability Maturity Model’ which was originally applied to software development and eventually grew into the CMMI approach for application to an increasingly wide range of challenges …
   • Lipnak and Stamps with their work on the dynamics of team-building …
   • Peter Senge and his work on learning organisations, his vision of change as ‘teaming and learning’, his insight into the ‘five disciplines’ of change as well as his emphasis on the integrative discipline of ‘systems thinking’ …
   • Otto Scharma and his work on the emerging paradigm of ‘presencing’ …

Some of these management innovations focus on understanding and identifying barriers to change, some on understanding the social dynamics of change, some on ‘what to do’ to manage change, and others on ‘how’ to do it.

Inevitably all approaches have draw-backs and downsides and ideally it is better to avoid too much abstraction and approach the ‘why’, ‘what’ and ‘how’ of change needs to be addressed on a case-by-case basis. From our point of view Foresight is part of a change management process that starts by clarifying the need for change, the nature of that change and the challenge of managing it. The natural consequence of which is the implementation of an appropriate change management plan.

 
 
 

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