Thursday, October 3, 2013

Innovation vs. Change Management

Innovation is an optimal change, and it can not be successful without grounding change management.

Innovation is value creation in a different way or to a different element of the business; there are both disruptive innovation and incremental innovation as well. So is innovation just another word for change; or does innovation management align with change management? Change and innovation share a common DNA, which is 'change' nature. But they are still different; each one has different motivators and must be managed differently. Innovation is a collection of thoughts, ideas, or efforts used to bring about or manage change to a desirable outcome. Not all change management is innovative however, innovation only exists to bring about change. Innovations do not need to be new however they should at the very least implement an existing method, idea, or resource in a new way, thereby making it innovative to the particular challenge at hand.

Innovation is to"make meaningful connections": Innovation can be delivered in many different ways. Organizations define what innovation means to them and how they choose or need to deliver, such as business model innovation, culture innovation, structure innovation, products/service/process innovation. Etc. Change Management is not necessarily about innovation and an organization has to carefully inventory what is working and what it wants to change. It must also consider not only the intended changes but what could be the unintended changes. Substantial innovations also sometimes lead to unexpected organizational changes, sometimes to handle success and sometimes to build on that success.

 Innovation is a unique differentiator and a subset of change: Innovation and change are not the same. Significant innovations can catalyze organizational change. Innovation has its own change dynamics, technically and organizationally. When change management is aligning with the change, internally and externally, and that change can be part of innovation dynamics. Innovation always means change, but not all change is innovative. Managing innovation requires you as a leader, formal or informal, to shepherd an idea through several phases of development, knowing when to move forward and when to return to an earlier phase. Change management usually means moving a team or organization in a forward direction - successfully or not. 

To be innovative requires a growth mindset: There is a willingness to "not know" & be able to source possibilities in the emerging space, to be curious and receptive to improvisation and experimentation (and failing) and about how to maximize diversity, to be collaborative, and to intentionally disruptive to create the empty space to generate ideation, new ideas and solutions that we can be provocative, passionate (really intrinsically motivated) about and courageous enough to implement or execute in new and unexpected ways, from letting go of the current reality to allowing an unknown future state to emerge.

Innovation requires a much deeper whole systems, emergent, generative, iterative and integrative approach
It requires much more time, energy, passion, courage, experimentation and retreat and reflection to get clear and focused on the innovative idea, business model, process or solution, and to then enact, embody and execute in a disciplined way. But both change and innovative leadership suggest that to deal effectively with change (their fears and resistance to it), businesses need to become good at self-managing, being adaptive, humanistic, and demonstrate flexibility and acceptance, to move and lead from current reality to desired future state.

You cannot do innovation management successfully without grounding in change management. In the final phase of innovation, where the idea is evaluated, applied, adapted, and optimized, change management is essential, so that individuals and organizations can benefit from the value of the innovation. The common change management issues such as dealing with resistance should be considered throughout the innovation process; many issues related to the adaptation of innovation can be predicted and managed by the way stakeholders are engaged in the process or journey of innovation. And, many change management processes will benefit from an innovation mindset and this can lead to practical, value-creating results