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    The Most Overlooked Part of Innovation

    The importance of effective change leadership in innovation, drawing on Kotter's 8-Step Model.

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      Picture of Vaughan Broderick

      Vaughan Broderick

      Hi friends 👋,

      There would be nothing worse than to have worked hard to develop a new product, service or innovation only to not have it adopted.

      But, you’re not alone.

      According to McKinsey 70% of all transformation fails.

      They highlight 3 key reasons:

      1. Not setting fact-based high-enough aspirations
      2. Not attaching a compelling ‘why’
      3. Poor execution

      Companies invest significant resources in research and development, technology, and talent to stay ahead of the curve.

      Yet, amidst the enthusiasm for bringing groundbreaking ideas and cutting-edge solutions to market, there’s a critical aspect often overlooked – the role of effective change leadership.

      It goes without saying that the more complex the system, the more complex the change, the more important an effective approach is used.

      Today we’ll cover change leadership based largely on Kotter’s Updated Change 8-Step Model which addresses all of the reasons identified by McKinsey.

      But, regardless of the complexity of the system you’re innovating within all change involves people. This will be useful for you.

      Let’s dive in.

      Step 1: Create Urgency

      The first step in Kotter’s model underscores the importance of conveying the need for change.

      Many innovation initiatives falter because organisations must articulate a compelling case for departing from the status quo.

      It’s not merely about presenting facts and figures; it’s about instilling a genuine sense of urgency, a shared realisation that change is beneficial and imperative.

      Appeal to the head and the heart.

      Step 2: Build the Coalition

      Building a coalition of influential individuals who champion the innovation cause is indispensable.

      These leaders should have a diverse range of skills from all levels such as domain knowledge, analytical thinking, creative thinking, communication and leadership.

      Step 3: Design the Strategy

      Innovation lacking direction is like a ship without a compass. A clear vision and strategy ensure efforts are aligned towards a common goal.

      Articulate what success looks like, fostering a shared understanding that guides the collective action.

      Your organisation will need a strong motivating vision and strategy tied to the BIG opportunity.

      Step 4: Enlist an Army

      For large-scale change, people have to feel that they ‘want to versus have to’.

      Give people choice and permission to act. This is where the power of building a social movement will be so powerful.

      ‘Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.’ – Leo Tolstoy

      Step 5: Enable Action

      Change isn’t confined to boardrooms; it permeates every level of an organisation.

      Empowering employees at all levels to contribute to the innovation process harnesses a wealth of ideas and cultivates a culture of ownership and engagement.

      Allow people to freely work across boundaries, collaborate with others and break down outdated norms.

      Eliminate legacy metrics, ways of working and language.

      Step 6: Get Early Traction

      Milestones matter, especially in the pragmatic world of change management.

      Celebrating and socialising early successes reinforces the belief that innovation is not just a lofty idea but a tangible, beneficial reality.

      Pick a meaningful project to begin. Get success, circulate the win and continue to build with the next project.

      Show people it is possible and beneficial to change.

      Step 7: Be Relentless

      Change is not a one-time event but an ongoing process.

      Consolidating gains involves reinforcing the positive impacts of innovation while remaining agile enough to adapt to evolving circumstances.

      Once you have some momentum, the biggest challenge will be regression.

      When times are tough, people will fall back into the old and more comfortable ways.

      Maintain momentum and accelerate.

      Step 8: Reinvent Culture

      Sustained success requires embedding new approaches into the organisational DNA.

      This step ensures that the changes become the new norm, part of the culture that continually fosters innovation.

      Change takes time and perseverance. Spend time to grow your people and communicate clearly. Embody the new way in actions, words and spaces.

      If you liked this framework, you can grab your free high-res download here.

      ⚡️ The Short of it

      n summary, innovation is change. To accelerate change:

      1. Create Urgency
      2. Build a coalition of diverse leaders
      3. Design a compelling strategy
      4. Enlist an army to create a social movement
      5. Enable everyone to contribute
      6. Get early wins
      7. Keep the momentum going to push through inertia
      8. Reinvent a new culture by growing your people and displaying the way.

      🎁 Resource Hub

      That’s all for today friends! 👋

      If you learned something useful, would you share the newsletter with a friend? 

      And if you have an idea for a future issue, send ’em my way.

      Thanks for reading and I’ll catch you next week.

      Keep future-state thinking,