Managing change and innovation successfully
For employees and managers who have been shaped by the regulations and processes of a company for many years, it is difficult to think creatively, break rules and generate new ideas at the push of a button. But this is precisely what is important to manage change and innovation successfully. Companies must increase their innovation capability and build up an innovation culture. Managing digitalization and Business Innovation must become the core competence of the company. How can that be achieved? This article will help you to understand why managing change and innovation is so difficult. Why you need patience in managing digital change and digital disruption. And how you and your employees can develop incremental innovation as well as radical innovation and disruptive innovation.
To successfully drive change and innovation, you need to understand the downside of your previous experience
Throughout their careers, managers and employees develop a clear understanding of how processes are followed correctly, which solutions work and which views are correct. They get a feel for what customers want, how employees should be managed and how the company needs to be strategically aligned. This knowledge is the asset of experienced employees. But this asset can be a barrier when it comes to manage change and innovation.
Experience is a good pilot. It is indispensable for making decisions from the gut. Imagine if you had to perform a thorough analysis before making any decision. You wouldn’t even be able to get to work on time in the morning. Breakfast or not? The light shoes or the black shoes? Take the car or take the train? Read the whole newspaper or just what’s important? To answer all these questions, your head knows a fantastic abbreviation: Experience. “I’ve always driven a car.” Period. “I always start reading the newspaper on page 3.” We only think about things when they are fundamental. Once the decision has been made, please don’t touch it again.
Your experience makes you as a person unique. Unfortunately, there’s a downside. In times of disruptive change, it becomes a barrier. Innovation strategies are developed based on yesterday’s experiences, the results of a trend analysis are interpreted in such a way that they fit into the experience scheme of the past. If you hold on to experiences, there is always the danger that many things will remain as they have always been. Tomorrow’s problems are tackled in the same way as yesterday’s challenges. If you rely exclusively on yesterday’s experiences, you’ll quickly stay with the old instead of managing change and innovation successfully.
How the autopilot in your mind suppresses innovative thinking
Something else is preventing you from thinking new and different. Our brain tends to switch to the autopilot mode and prefers to spend most of the day in an automatic mode. Take a quick trip back in time to when you got your driver’s license. In driving school, you couldn’t tell the difference between a gas and a brake pedal. When turning off, you had to be careful because you regularly overlooked pedestrians. What about today? Flashing, looking to the side, changing lanes. This process, which used to bring your driving instructor to the brink of despair, is now fully automatic. While your subconscious guides you through the traffic, you can – of course via the hands-free system – talk to your colleagues on the phone, negotiate with customers or think about the next steps in product development.
Your brain tries to automate thinking processes
Research can explain that: When you store information in your brain, huge networks of cells are created, some of which are assigned complete tasks. Scientists speak of neuronal networks. If you are regularly confronted with a particular challenge, your brain creates solution patterns. If you are confronted again with the same challenge, your brain activates these connections and the solution is there. The more this process is automated, the less you will notice. Your brain is trying to automate processes as much as possible. If you want to successfully manage innovation and change, you need to deliberately deactivate the autopilot.
How to manage change and innovation in companies
The human brain has basically little interest in questioning proven solutions again and again. After all, it was hard work building them. Accordingly, it is difficult for the management of companies to change the corporate culture in the age of radical transformation. With the right skills and tools, the experiences of employees and managers can be used positively for managing change and innovation.
Create space for discussions in which managers and employees can systematically debate and question the existing situation.
Establish internal and external innovation networks in which existing experiences can be discussed and new experiences gained.
Continually develop ideas for new products and digital business models, discuss them with new target groups. Expose managers and employees to new experiences continuously!
Discuss your internal processes, product and sales strategies as well as digital business models openly and transparently.
Establish internal innovation networks on topics that are important for the future of your company. Whether innovative methods of personnel search, the effects of artificial intelligence on your company or new target groups – with Innolytics you can involve managers and employees from all areas.