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Innovation: Does Change Management Play a Role? 4 Tips to Ensure Successful Integration

A successful change is dependent on two key variables: a quality solution and the acceptance of that solution by the people who are impacted.

In most organizations undergoing change of any kind, the change management process is typically started after a quality solution has been generated. But that may be too limited of a view.

A competitive environment and increased customer expectations push organizations to come up with better solutions – to be innovative in their thinking about their business. Change management helps in understanding innovation and how it can be more effective.

Change management typically focuses on employees and others impacted by a decision to change. But consider the organization itself as the target of a change. Like employees, the organization can become comfortable with the “current state” even as leaders and various functions like marketing and R&D emphasize the need to innovate and constantly introduce new products and services. This drive for innovation is in constant tension with the drive to “do what we do best” and not tinker with success.

An organization committed to innovation will have to change itself to become an organization capable of innovation. And that requires effective change management.

Think about a few of these key questions:

  • What is it about your organization’s Current State that hinders innovation? Is it the reporting relationships? The performance metrics for various functions? The process flow that prevents ideas from being implemented? A culture that believes “if it’s not broke don’t fix it?
  • What would the organization look like if it was innovative? What changes need to be made in its structure, performance measures, processes and culture? Will innovation focus on continuous improvement or on breakthrough, blue sky thinking? Will it be triggered by the pain of competition and customer demands or be designed to anticipate customer delight even when the organization is a clear industry leader? In other words, what would the organization look like if it weren’t the way it is today?

Like with any change, before innovation can happen, the organization must implement thoughtfully the changes needed to support it.

Here are our 4 best tips:

  1. Realign organizational structure so people understand innovation IS their job
  2. Break down barriers that prevent the design and implementation of creative ideas
  3. Develop skills that foster innovation, as well as skills that encourage implementation of creative ideas
  4. Instill a belief of never settling for the status quo and always being one step (or two or three) ahead of your customer and the competition

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