Get early access
Get early access

Paving the way for strategic change and innovation

by Aaron Slater, on 21 Oct 2020 2 min read

IRM UK Conference

Ahead of this year’s Business Change & Transformation Conference, we discuss the link between innovation, transformation and change management.

On Tuesday 27th October, we’re speaking at this year’s Business Change & Transformation Conference - taking place as a virtual event and featuring big names such as the Ministry of Defence, Microsoft, Capita and more. It may seem like an odd choice of event for an innovation platform such as ours, but the truth is that innovation is an integral part of business change and transformation. 

We're hosting a panel discussion with three experts in business strategy - Katherine Allan, Founder of KSK Consulting; Cris Beswick, Co-founder of Outcome; and Arend Welmers, CEO of Ninety Days. We’ll talk about the relationship between innovation, transformation and change management, and consider some of the common blockers to innovation that organisations face. 

Ahead of the conference, we caught up with Katherine, Cris and Arend to discuss exactly why we’ll be there…

The link between innovation, transformation and change management

For Katherine, innovation, transformation and change management are three distinct fields, all of which are intrinsically linked. Innovation she describes as the trialling phase: a phase that’s all about newness, evolution, iteration and constantly trialling things. “It’s a phase where you need to be comfortable with the view that it’s ok to fail”, she says. 

Transformation, on the other hand, is about planning. She describes it as having decided that you either want to or are being forced to move from one way of doing things to another, with transformation being the choice of route you take to get there.

Change management, on the other hand, is about the tools you use to get there. “There’s a real art to change management”, says Katherine. “Not everyone can do it”. The key components, for her, are collaboration, communication, coordination and particularly movement: “you’ve got to be talking all the time and using all the coordination tools to get there”.  

Arend also sees the three terms as very distinct - but believes that this is not the case for everyone. “The interesting thing about those three words”, he says, “is that they’re often probably used interchangeably”. 

He describes how innovation is often defined as a new idea or new method, but he believes this definition is too broad - instead preferring to describe it as “the idea of creating new value that customers will pay your organisation for”. Transformation, on the other hand, is “really more about the scale of change”. For Arend, it’s the process of taking an organisation to a new level, steering it in a new direction, establishing a new level of performance. 

And change management? He describes it as the minimisation of resistance to change. He stresses the importance of bringing everybody into the conversation, ensuring that all stakeholders understand what is happening and the changes that are required, and that everyone involved is broadly supportive of what is happening. 

Cris is in agreement with Arend. “The challenge”, he says, “is that the three words are often confused as one and the same thing, especially with digital transformation now in the mix”. He talks of working with clients across the globe who have certainly seen periodical change, but very few of whom have fundamentally transformed. “By transformation”, he says, “I mean real wholesale shift because of external conditions, market forces, competitors, trends or just the fact that the world has fundamentally changed”. 

He stresses the importance of differentiating between generic change, change management programmes and change programmes, and genuine transformation. “It’s probably one of the things most organisations struggle with at the moment”, he says”, “confusing the two, as fundamentally, they’re different”. 

Join us at the Business Change & Transformation Conference

As Cris, Arend and Katherine have explained, innovation is an integral part of business change and transformation. It’s why we’re speaking at the Business Change & Transformation Conference this month. During our panel session, we’ll explain how overcoming five key blockers to innovation can help pave the way for strategic change and transformation. 

To learn more and to register, visit the conference website.

Topics:Change & Transformation