1. The budget resources to finance innovations
Pioneering innovations need an environment that is entrepreneurship in Company allows. The first advance teams in the form of new business units are best separated spatially or completely relocated to escape the shackles of the parent organization.
Such advance teams usually go to work as autonomous teams in a self-organized manner. You need a liaison person to represent you in the mother house. And they need the backing from above. Otherwise, the pipe shredder.
The leap into the future not only wants to be ambitious, it also has to be financially sound. This can be achieved on the one hand through capital injections, and on the other hand through cost savings. For the latter, I recommend the following steps:
- Reduce your internal bureaucracy costs by at least 50 percent.
- Concentrate on your most profitable core products.
- Separate by-products and the expenses for them radically.
- Invest a large part of the profit in the new: innovations, tools, people.
- Create small units that quickly develop new things and bring them to the market.
This is very quick to do. Innovative companies are more attractive for both employees and customers. In addition, as various studies show, the profits of such companies are increasing rapidly. Often around 20 percent are spoken of.
2. The right people so that change processes succeed
The right people are needed to initiate groundbreaking changes. In addition to the necessary specialist expertise, they need one thing above all: curiosity, thirst for knowledge, a thirst for research and a pioneering spirit. These properties, like every other property, are created to different degrees in humans.
So far everything has been arranged according to plan, lateral thinkers have been silenced and if your employees have been rewarded for conformism, you should of course not be surprised if there are only a few talents in the company with these personality traits.
If an individual is often criticized for creative achievements or if his ideas are constantly rejected, a phenomenon arises that is known as "creativity insult": curiosity disappears. Therefore, you have to be on the lookout for employees who need something new as a stimulus and who still have curiosity. Bite and stamina are also required to triumph in unfamiliar terrain.
So focus on the pioneers, those keen to experiment and those interested in change. It is a mistake to "roll out" everything on everyone and waste their energy on those who do not (initially) want change. By giving them too much attention for too long, they strengthen their position and only give them time to sow discord and develop their destructive effect.
3. The right method with which every change project works
If you plan major change measures or want new products, you must not assign people to do so. Rather, the pioneers should volunteer and then jointly decide on the organizational structure and working method. Even if only a few innovation teams initially want to work in a self-organized manner, everyone in management must allow and support this.
Appropriate results that come from such units must be implemented. Alibi activities and those that only serve PR purposes are unacceptable. They bring nothing, but destroy the internal credibility. Even the very first self-organized units must never act completely isolated.
Confidentiality is extremely counterproductive. Rather, the teams should be transparent about what is happening to them. In addition, videos can be shot and / or offers for employees can be made to make the procedure tangible. In this way, the pioneering teams can become the nucleus of a company-wide structural and cultural change.
"Our first agile team exerted an incredible attraction on almost everyone else," says Bastian Wilhelms, Senior Adviser at the telephony service provider Sipgate. The desire quickly arises to do the same for the successful. "How do we get the spirit of optimism, the cooperation and the dynamics of such teams into the entire company?" So that's the crucial question. Blockers and hurdles that can prevent this have to go.
4. A viable option: Everett Rogers' Innovation Curve
People react differently to changes and, depending on the type, should therefore be gradually introduced to change processes. A procedure based on Everett Rogers' Innovation Curve is particularly suitable for this.
The whole organization will gradually go through the change process. The thrust is horizontal - and not topdown. Inspired by the initial successes, further units are moving up. The early majority won't try anything until others have tried it.
If enough people have been won from the early majority to try the new, the late majority will follow. Many keepers sit there. There is absolutely no point in wanting to take them with you from the start. Rather, you calm them down by not having to take part in the changes.
The hesitants sit with the stragglers. You will only be convinced of this once all the dangers have been eliminated. You will lose some people. They leave the company because they no longer fit them. Or you will part with them. Nobody still has time today to wait for those who demonize change neophobically and want to stay stubborn on old shores. If you brake, everything stops.
However, one has to differentiate: constructive skeptics can be useful because they make others think more carefully and develop better arguments. However, one has to beware of the boycotters, who protect the obsolete from the blind or who fight for the preservation of the past with self-serving intent. Not a single company can continue to afford that.
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German edition: ISBN 9783965961548
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