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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