September 2

Transforming Culture for Innovation

Looking for game changing results? Thanks to the magic of TV and cinema we know exactly how to get them. Step one, to become an instant superhero just find a telephone box, change your costume and you’re ready to make a positive impact on the world. If that doesn’t work then try step two which involves going on a talent show and having a great back story…

A bit far-fetched? Well, perhaps, but the fact is that with TV shows holding out the promise of instant stardom and smart phones demanding instant communications, there is a real danger that the ‘want it now’ mentality is starting to rule business perceptions. Our forefathers knew that if you wanted to get somewhere it took hard work and planning but sadly despite the fall-out from the recession, it seems that the temptation of instant profits, instant results and instant change still rules some business models.

And in a way there are positives to be gained from trying to speed up the business process. Businesses can’t afford to take as long as they used to when bringing products to market. Agility is now the name of the game, allied to collaboration and real customer insight. But if agile innovation is a positive business ambition, unplanned and rushed transformation is the exact opposite. Any leader who thinks that simply because they have identified a need for change, that change will happen and will happen instantly is a leader who is heading their business towards a fall.

To achieve lasting and positive results from a transformation requires structure and planning. It is this very structure which forms the basis of our forthcoming book* which takes organisational leaders and others through the process of building a culture of innovation from initial identification through to embedding change. We are not alone in promoting this structured change methodology. In a recent LinkedIn article, Jonathan Streeton highlighted John Kotter’s 8 Steps to Transformation from preparation through to implementation.

Why is a structured change framework so important? It’s a bit like the story which starts with a lost nail in horseshoe and builds up to the loss of a kingdom. Put simply:

  • If you don’t understand where you are today how can you hope to build change?
  • If you don’t understand what change you are looking for how can you hope to define the new culture?
  • If you can’t define the culture then how can you set out the strategy, values and competencies required to instil it?
  • If you can’t define the strategy then how can you hope to get buy in?

…and so on, you get the idea.

Change doesn’t happen because you want it to. Change happens because the leadership care so much about delivering game changing results that they are prepared to put time and effort and enthusiasm into understanding, defining, creating and embedding the desired structure as well as engaging employees and stakeholders in the change. We may live in a world which increasingly seems designed for speed and for instant results but at the end of the day and organisation will only be geared up to provide agile innovative solutions if time is taken at the outset to ensure that the cultural transformation is well defined and properly embedded.

* “Building a Culture of Innovation – A Practical Framework for Placing Innovation at the Core of Your Business” Written by Cris Beswick, Derek Bishop and Jo Geraghty. Published 3rd December 2015, available for pre-order from 3rd September 2015.


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