Tactics for encouraging change in an organization

At my FutureM talk yesterday, one of the questions on everyone’s mind about any kind of new process, procedure, or methodology is how to get organizations to adopt it. My answer is frequently this: take it for a test drive. Any process or change that should increase your productivity, improve your results, or create some impact should have a quantifiable, measurable metric attached to it. Having concrete, quantitative evidence that your change recommendation works is one of the best ways to prove its value.

For example, with creativity (the topic of yesterday’s talk), there are a set of measurements called the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking, which ask how many ideas were created, how diverse and rare they were, and how in-depth they were. If you’re trying to implement a new creative process, benchmark your existing creative process and brainstorming sessions, measure them by the Torrance metrics, and then try out the new process. If you see an improvement in the measurements of creativity or a decrease in the amount of time used for the same results, then you know the process works and you can provide documented proof to stakeholders in your organization for either additional testing or rollout.

File:Punishment sisyph.jpg - Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaThe Sisyphean Task of Change Management

If you’re in a situation where stakeholders are reluctant to even attempt a trial run, then your next best bet is to look at reputable sources of earned media, such as academic papers, case studies, and business publications for examples of methodology implementations and their results at similarly-sized companies. Ideally, you’ll dig up a case study at a competitor; competitor case studies tend to provide maximum leverage for change against risk-averse organizations because they incite the concern of “X competitor is doing this, we need to as well or we’ll lose competitive advantage!”.

Finally, if all else fails, the process for implementing creative change can scale down to an individual level, so if nothing else, you can use it to improve your own personal creative processes and make yourself a more valuable contributor.

Christopher S. Penn
Vice President, Marketing Technology

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Posted on October 17, 2013 in Creative, Events, Strategy

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About the Author

Christopher S. Penn is an authority on digital marketing and marketing technology. A recognized thought leader, author, and speaker, he has shaped three key fields in the marketing industry: Google Analytics adoption, data-driven marketing and PR, and email marketing. Known for his high-octane, here’s how to get it done approach, his expertise benefits companies such as Citrix Systems, McDonald’s, GoDaddy, McKesson, and many others. His latest work, Leading Innovation, teaches organizations how to implement and scale innovative practices to direct change. Christopher is a highly-sought keynote speaker thanks to his energetic, informative talks. In 2015, he delivered insightful, innovative talks on all aspects of marketing and analytics at over 30 events to critical acclaim. He is a founding member of IBM’s Watson Analytics Predictioneers, co-founder of the groundbreaking PodCamp Conference, and co-host of the Marketing Over Coffee marketing podcast. Christopher is a Google Analytics Certified Professional and a Google AdWords Certified Professional. He is the author of over two dozen marketing books including bestsellers such as Marketing White Belt: Basics for the Digital Marketer, Marketing Red Belt: Connecting With Your Creative Mind, and Marketing Blue Belt: From Data Zero to Marketing Hero.
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