Change at Scale – Can You Make It Happen?

by | Jun 25, 2014

I had the pleasure of attending the Kellogg Innovation Network meeting in Chicago just a few days ago. Truly inspirational. The theme was Change at Scale. It's not just about change - it's about how to change and scale the change across the organisation - something that is usually done pretty badly. It was really interesting hearing how some organisations are approaching this challenge. 

The Hyatt organisation for example, is changing their business from "selling a room" to "taking care of you". Interesting. And if you continue this line of thinking, why should Hyatt just "take care of you" when you are away from home - surely it could expand its "care" to wherever you are - including home. So how can Hyatt do this? They also found, through a deep understanding of their users, that they need to enhance the "women's experience". Cleaner rooms. Cleaner bathrooms. Better amenities. They used Design Thinking extensively in this process - and what a great application - everyone has stayed in a hotel at some point in their lives. What is really interesting is that this shift is not just product marketing. It's looking to change an organisation that has been all about asset deployment, room occupancy, rate changes to one that is totally customer centric - to the point that the hotel room almost becomes incidental.

Clorox, on the other hand, approaches change differently: moving from a very closed innovation model to a more open innovation one, especially in R&D. For them the challenge is managing both the pace of change and the capacity of the organisation for change. Not only do we need to be conscious about the decisions about what to do, we also need to be aware of what NOT to do.

One of the biggest discussion points was that change does not happen from the top. Top down communication on its own does not work. It's about "connections to the middle". As one of the speakers said - the top layer of management in an organisation is toast thin and warm to the idea of change, the bottom layer of management warms to the idea of change, but the middle layer remains an "icy centre".

A BP executive talked about effecting change at scale through changes in perspective - especially from the top leadership. While it's very comfortable for people to do the same thing every day, leaders need to start to see things through different lenses - and the same lenses of their customers. Getting people of out their comfort zones is key because  "The larger your company, the smaller your world".

How true.

Think about it. Does this apply to your organisation?
Jeffrey Tobias

About Jeffrey Tobias

Dr Tobias is an accomplished innovation consultant and entrepreneurship strategist, drawing expertise from the academic, entrepreneurial and corporate worlds. Jeffrey’s commercial and business experience is particularly focussed on lean startup, design thinking and leadership. Prior to The Strategy Group, Jeffrey was Cisco’s Global Lead for Innovation in the Internet Business Solutions Group helping Fortune Global 500 companies improve customer experience and grow revenue by transforming how they do business.
Jeffrey is a professor of innovation and entrepreneurship teaching MBA students at the Australian Graduate School of Business at the University of New South Wales. An active angel investor, Jeffrey is on the board of various well-known startups.

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Managing Director, The Strategy Group

Dr Tobias is an accomplished innovation consultant and entrepreneurship strategist, drawing expertise from the academic, entrepreneurial and corporate worlds. Jeffrey’s commercial and business experience is particularly focussed on lean startup, design thinking and leadership. Prior to The Strategy Group, Jeffrey was Cisco’s Global Lead for Innovation in the Internet Business Solutions Group helping Fortune Global 500 companies improve customer experience and grow revenue by transforming how they do business.
Jeffrey is a professor of innovation and entrepreneurship teaching MBA students at the Australian Graduate School of Business at the University of New South Wales. An active angel investor, Jeffrey is on the board of various well known startups. Jeffrey’s corporate background includes leading global innovation strategy at Cisco, working with large corporates such as Adobe, Westpac, Telstra, Woolworths, and Perpetual.

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