Tag Archives: Human-Centric Problem-Solving

Developing a Future-Fitness Focus

Developing a Future-Fitness Focus

GUEST POST from Janet Sernack

In a recent article “Organizing for the future: Nine keys to becoming a future-ready company” McKinsey and Co, suggested that the Covid-19 pandemic has added to the pressure to change that has been growing for many years, which is now at a tipping point. Where the most forward-looking leaders and teams see a larger opportunity – the chance to build on pandemic-related accomplishments and re-examine and reimagine the organisation’s identity, how it works, and how it grows. Referring to new research on the organizational practices of 30 top companies, they highlighted how businesses can best organize for the future – and it is all initiated by developing a human-centric, future-fit focus.

Inquiring as to how might we ensure that we capture the best of what we’ve learned and keep the digital momentum going through developing a future-fit focus within the post-COVID-19 world?

What is a future-ready organization?

The article goes on to state that future-ready companies share three characteristics that offer senior executives a “unique unfreezing opportunity” – oby co-creating new adaptive systems, that are purposeful, organic, and human-centric by:

  • Knowing who they are and what they stand for;
  • Operating with a fixation on speed and simplicity;
  • Growing by scaling up their ability to learn, innovate, and seek good ideas, regardless of their origin.

Seeing the world with fresh eyes – unlearning, re-learning, creativity and innovation

All of which need to be initiated and developed through acquiring a new lens: an ability to see the world with “fresh eyes” by letting go of many of our old mental models and paradigms to:

  • Co-create, with others, new openings and empty spaces for unlearning what may have previously been embraced and worked in the past.
  • Focus on developing a new future-fit focus that unleashes purposeful, speed, simplicity, and growth through unlearning, re-learning, creativity and innovation.

Letting go to let come

In almost every aspect of business, we are operating with mental models, paradigms, and mindsets that have become outdated or obsolete, from strategy to marketing, from organizational design, learning systems to leadership, teams, and even to coaching.

This means that the first and most crucial step in shifting towards a human-centric, future-fitness focus involves “unlearning.”

Because many of our old mental models and paradigms, which are mostly unconsciously embodied in our core mindsets, impact the choices and decisions we make, the behaviors we enact, and the results we get – and it seems, that in 2021 we are getting a lot of results that no-one particularly wants.

What do we mean by “unlearning” and why is it important?

A lot of the mental models and paradigms are embodied in our habitual mindsets, that many of us learned in school, university, or college, and even in 20th century learning programs and built our careers on are now incomplete, ineffective, and irrelevant in adapting, and in serving people to survive, grow and thrive the post-Covid-19 world.

This means that to embrace a future-fit focus we have to first unlearn the old ones.

“Unlearning” is not about forgetting.

It’s about paying deep attention and developing the awareness to see, and step outside of our old mental models or paradigms and pay attention, and be consciously aware of the:

  • Mindsets we are embodying;
  • Behaviors we are enacting;
  • and the results we are manifesting.

Either because reality has changed or because current approaches are based on flawed or rigid thinking, faulty premises, and assumptions, or via a different consumer or technological landscape.

To then consciously choose, experiment, make distinctions, and bravely re-learn how to shift towards developing different, diverse, and more resourceful future-readiness.

The good news is that practicing “unlearning” will make it easier and quicker to make the necessary future-fit shifts as our brains become adaptive, through the process of neuroplasticity.

What are the key steps in “unlearning”?

  1. Being fully present, composed, and detached in adopting a beginner’s mind involving periodically challenging, questioning, and reassessing deeply held theories, archetypes, and conventions to provoke and evoke creative new ideas and innovative solutions.
  2. Allowing things to be and not needing to be in control, or in charge, being comfortable with being uncomfortable and willing to explore uncertainty, constraints, and threats as opportunities from a whole person and whole systems perspective.
  3. Wandering into wonder in the unknown to bravely adopt a “not knowing” stance and be more open-hearted, childlike and joyful, by bringing in awe, curiosity, and playfulness into your space.
  4. Recognizing and discerning that some of your old mental models, paradigms, and mindsets are no longer relevant or effective and be open-minded, through being inquisitive, curious, and creative in experimenting with new ones.
  5. Imagining, finding, or creating new mental models, paradigms, and mindsets that can help you adapt, innovate and better achieve your goals and growth objectives and focus on developing your capacity, confidence, and competence in being agile: the ability to create intentional shifts in different and changing contexts to re-program the mind.
  6. Ingraining the new future-fit mindsets as emotional and mental habits through attending and observing, being empathic and compassionate, questioning and inquiring, generative listening and debate, experimenting, smart risk-taking, and networking across boundaries.

What gets in the way of “unlearning”?

At ImagineNation™ we specialize in designing and delivering bespoke adult learning solutions that embrace a range of future fit mindsets, behaviors, and skills.

Whilst we have found that many leaders, teams, executives, and coaches are willing to unlearn, and re-learn, many are not.

Requiring our coaches, trainers, and facilitators to effectively resolve some of the key human-centric blockers to unlearning and re-learning including some peoples’:

  • Rigidity and fixedness in their own points of view and need to be “right” and in control of the situation.
  • Need to always appear to know, and their hesitancy around not wanting to look like they don’t actually know the answers or solutions, and are therefore incompetent.
  • Busyness, where they are too task focussed to make the time to hit their pause buttons, retreat and reflect, to review options for being more effective, productive, and creative, by thinking and doing things differently.
  • Fear of loss, or lack of safety and permission to set aside the status quo to challenge assumptions and explore new possibilities and play with the art of the possible

Towards  a human-centric, future-fit focus

For most of us, the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath have upended our lives as we knew them,  and according to McKinsey & Co – the resulting pain, grief, and economic dislocation will be felt long into the future.

Reinforcing that the first priority for leaders and teams, therefore, is to become more purposeful and human-centric, to lead and role model a future-fit focus.

Aimed at increasing speed and improving simplicity and by strategically scaling up people’s ability to unlearn, relearn, innovate, and seek good ideas regardless of their origin.

By being curious and creative, connected, empathic and compassionate, confident and courageous, to revitalize, and reenergize, exhausted people, teams, and organizations, currently languishing in 2021.

This is the first of a series of blogs, podcasts, and webinars on Developing a Human-Centric Future-Fitness organisation.

More about us

Find out about The Coach for Innovators Certified Program, a collaborative, intimate, and deep personalized innovation coaching and learning program, supported by a global group of peers over 8-weeks, starting October 19, 2021. It is a blended learning program that will give you a deep understanding of the language, principles, and applications of a human-centered approach to innovation, within your unique context. Find out more.

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Why Sometimes Being Certifiable is a Good Thing

Certified Design Thinking ProfessionalRecently I became a Certified Design Thinking Professional (CDTP) through the Global Innovation Institute (GInI).

I’m sure you’ve probably heard someone say that an individual is certifiable. In the negative context of the word it means that an individual is “officially recognized as needing treatment for mental disorder” according to the Oxford Languages dictionary.

BUT, there is of course a positive meaning to the word certifiable as well – “able or needing to be certified.”

I’ve been doing human-centered design, or what some people refer to as ‘design thinking’, for more than twenty years – since I built Symantec’s first web-based technical support and customer service capabilities. But, despite decades of experience I’ve never bothered to get certified. So, why now?

Well, recently I finished building and launching a Design Thinking program for Oracle customers similar to Salesforce Ignite, Deloitte Greenhouse, EY Wavespace, SAP Leonardo, etc. Now as I explore a range of potential new opportunities to tackle next, there is one inescapable fact that presents itself very quickly:

Companies are extremely risk averse as they evaluate potential vendors and employees, and so they place a great deal of value on diplomas and certifications as a way of decreasing the perceived risk of hiring the services of a new employee or contractor.

This is valuable to the individual as well, but certifications help to increase the knowledge and confidence for the person too. And, tools like the Applied Innovation Master Book (AInMB) contain not only valuable information about design thinking, but also about innovation in the bargain. And, the Applied Innovation Master Book gives you one place to jump back to for selecting the methods you want to leverage each time you engage in a new design challenge.

So, does it make sense to get certified in everything you could possibly get certified on?

Maybe not. But, there are definitely times where being certifiable is a good thing.

Keep innovating!


Accelerate your change and transformation success

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8 Design Thinking Flaws and How to Fix Them

8 Design Thinking Flaws and How to Fix Them

by Braden Kelley and Adam Radziszewski

Design Thinking attempts to extract the mindset of a designer, an artist, a creator, or even a child into a series of steps that can be applied to any discipline (even business or politics) to solve human-centered problems. Its steps are so logical that we can’t imagine anyone opposing them.

  • Why wouldn’t you speak with customers and observe them?
  • Why wouldn’t you collect diverse perspectives and research before choosing a problem to solve?
  • Why wouldn’t you come up with lots of ideas, prototype the most promising and test those prototypes?
  • If you’re selling to people, to humans, why wouldn’t you use a human-centric approach?

Because people can quickly understand the power (or promise) of Design Thinking, companies, consultants, and universities have latched on to the methodology and quickly accelerated it to the top of the hype curve. This has created a lot of problems for both expert Design Thinking practitioners and for the methodology itself.

So, let’s look at eight Design Thinking flaws and how to fix them:

Click here to continue reading on CustomerThink.com


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7 Steps to Building Stronger Sales Relationships with Human-Centric Problem Solving

7 Steps to Building Stronger Sales Relationships with Human-Centric Problem Solving

by Braden Kelley and Adam Radziszewski

Building strong sales relationships is all about trust and demonstrating how the product/solution will make the customer’s life better. But is traditional selling getting you where you want to go?

If you’re looking to close more business and feeling stuck, try injecting some human-centric problem solving into your sales process.

What is human-centric problem solving?

Human-centric problem solving goes beyond what people say they do. Instead, it looks for what people actually do.

The approach helps you investigate the distinctly human elements that go beyond what sales tools can tell you about a prospect. It can also help you discover the true problem worth solving for the prospect.

Sometimes, you’ll even find a new problem the customer doesn’t even know they have.

Click here to continue reading on Sales Hacker


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The Five Keys to Successful Change

5 Keys to Successful Change

My next book, Charting Change, is a followup to Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire and is now available for pre-order. While my first book helped people identify and remove barriers to innovation, my next book is designed to make the process of planning change efforts less overwhelming and more human.

Charting Change will introduce a visual, collaborative Human-Centered Change™ methodology designed to help get everyone literally all on the same page for change.

The toolkit begins by painting a different background for the landscape of organizational change. Here we introduce the first of more than fifty tools and frameworks comprising that make up the Human-Centered Change™ methodology.

When it comes to organizational change, most people focus on change management and there is even a couple of professional associations organized around the practice of change management, including the Association of Change Management Professionals (ACMP).

But change management is only one of the Five Keys to Successful Change:

Five Keys to Successful Change 550

Leave one out and eventually your change effort, no matter how big or small, will eventually fail. If you’re setting setting out to change the world, even a small corner of it, then you’ll want to be sure to consider each of the five keys and make sure that you proceed in a measured way that takes each into account.

Let’s look at each briefly in turn before we look at each area in more detail in future posts, and eventually in my new book in February 2016.

The Five Keys to Successful Change

1. Change Planning

Change Planning is the first key to successful organizational change, and it focuses on drawing out the key issues of the necessary change and puts some structure and timeline around them. You will find you have a better experience and a more successful outcome if you use a more visual, collaborative method using something like the Human-Centered Change™ methodology I will be releasing soon to help you create the necessary change plans, goals, metrics, etc.

2. Change Leadership

Change Leadership is the second key to successful organizational change, and is important because good change leadership provides the sponsorship, support and oversight necessary for the change activities to receive the visibility, care, and attention they need to overcome inertia and maintain momentum throughout the process of transformation.

3. Change Management

Change Management represents the third key to successful organizational change, and it is probably the one most people think of when they think about organizational change because it focuses on managing the change activities necessary to achieve the change objectives. The term itself has some challenges however as the term also refers to the management of code changes during the software development process and its relationship with project management is confused. We will dig more into the relationship between project management and change management in a future article.

4. Change Maintenance

Change Maintenance represents the fourth and probably most neglected key to successful organizational change. Many change leaders lose interest after the major launch milestones are achieved, and this is a real risk to sustained success of the change effort. During the change maintenance phase is when you measure the outcomes of the planned change activities and reinforce the change, to make sure the change effort has met the change objectives and when you ensure that the behavior change becomes a permanent one. Neglect this phase and people often slip back into their old, well worn patterns of behavior.

5. Change Portfolio Management

Every organization will have a broad collection of larger change efforts (digital transformation, merger integration, layoffs, etc.) and smaller change efforts (including all projects) underway or in the planning or maintenance stages at all times. This portfolio of change efforts must be managed and Change Portfolio Management represents the necessary activities for balancing all of the resource needs of this variety of change efforts.

Conclusion

This is the first step in the Human-Centered Change™ approach to organizational change that you can use to help change the world in the series of Big C and Little C change efforts that you may lead throughout your life. Big C change efforts are what most people think as change initiatives (mergers and acquisitions, layoffs, transformations, etc.) while Little C change efforts are any project that you might undertake (after all every project changes something).

If we want to do better than the 70% failure rate that change practitioners face in their work, we must look beyond change management or change leadership, and instead think more holistically about change, and to consider all Five Keys to Successful Change.

I hope you have found the article and the framework a useful first building block as we work together to build a strong foundation for successful organizational change. To be alerted when the Human-Centered Change™ methodology becomes available, please be sure and click the link below to join the mailing list, and stay tuned for the next article in this series!

Click to access this framework as a scalable 11″x17″ PDF download

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