Tag Archives: risk

What is the Cost of a Failed Change Initiative or Innovation Project?

What is the Cost of a Failed Change Initiative or Innovation Project?

It seems like a simple question.

One that you would expect to lead to some risk mitigation behavior, but it doesn’t.

And when you consider that companies are spending an increasing amount of their budget on technology and working to transform their operations to be more digital in order to provide a better experience for customers, employees, partners and suppliers while simultaneously creating a more efficient and effective business, you would think that companies would do everything possible to make sure that these projects succeed, but they don’t.

Everyone knows that a lot of technology projects fail to achieve their intended objectives, timings, and budgets. This fact and the increasing investment levels should cause more executives to look for ways to de-risk these technology investments in digitizing the business, but they’re not.

Why is that?

Are we really so afraid of learning new ways of doing things that would dramatically reduce the risk and expense of project failures that we will continue using the old ways even though we know they don’t work?

Even though there are incredibly inexpensive and easy ways of reducing both the risk of project failures and the cost of project execution, patterns of behavior are not changing…

Perhaps you see the world differently.

Perhaps you’re fed up with project failures and want to increase the speed of both change execution and change adoption.

Consider answering these five simple questions before spending a single minute on your next innovation project, change initiative, or digital transformation effort:

  1. How much is an hour of your time worth to the company you work for? (multiply this by the number of hours you expect to invest in this project or initiative)
  2. What is the fully-loaded monetary value of the time that employees are going to spend on this project or initiative?
  3. How much do you pay to a single contract project manager to spin up a project before the first minute of actual work begins? Over the life of the project?
  4. How much are you planning to spend with consulting companies on this project or initiative?
  5. How much are you planning to spend on contractors to staff this project or initiative?

Get access to the Change Planning Toolkit for less than $100Have you got the numbers in your mind?

Now, are any of these numbers $100 or more?

I’m sure they are, unless of course you’re going to do the project yourself in less than an hour and don’t value your time very much.

So, what if I told you that for less than $100 you could plan and execute your change initiatives, innovation projects and transformation investments in a much more visual and collaborative way and simultaneously reduce the chances of project failure and the cost of executing your project?

Well, you can. You just have to be willing to challenge orthodoxies and use a new set of tools, a new approach, that will feel very natural and empowering if you’re already comfortable with the Business Model Canvas, Lean, Design Thinking, or the Lean Startup.

All you need to get started is a copy of my latest book Charting Change and a $99.99/yr license for the Change Planning Toolkit™ (which comes with a QuickStart Guide). In exchange you’ll get tools worth more than $1,200 and will help to support the creation of the Human-Centered Innovation Toolkit™.

It’s as simple as that.

And to get you started if you’re still unsure, go ahead and grab the 10 Free Downloads and the poster-size Visual Project Charter™ and the poster-size Experiment Canvas™ from the under-construction Human-Centered Innovation Toolkit™.

Let’s change change and keep innovating – together!


Accelerate your change and transformation success

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Are You Investing in an Innovation Culture?

Are You Investing in an Innovation Culture?

Innovation is everywhere.

You can’t go an entire commercial break during the Super Bowl or a State of the Union address (okay, sorry, both American examples) without hearing the word innovation pop up at least once or twice. Companies have added innovation to their company values and mission statements in accelerating numbers. Some organizations have implemented idea management systems. And others are willing to spend large sums of money on design firms and innovation boutique consultancies to get help designing some new widget or service to flog to new or existing customers. Based on all of that you would think that most companies are committed to innovation, right?

If you asked most CEOs “Is your organization committed to innovation?”, do you think you could find a single CEO that would say no?

So, why do think I’m about to make the following statement?

90+% of organizations have no sustained commitment to innovation.

When it comes to fostering continuous innovation, most organizational cultures stink at it.

Let’s look at some data, because anyone who is committed to innovation (and not just creativity) should love data (especially unstructured data from customers):

  • Over the last 50 years the average lifespan of a company on the S&P 500 has dropped from 61 years to 18 years (and is forecast to grow even shorter in the future)1
  • In a worldwide survey of 175 companies by Hill & Knowlton (a communications consultancy), executives cited “promoting continuous innovation” as the most difficult goal for their company to get right. “Structurally, many companies just aren’t set up to deliver continuous innovation.”2
  • 84% of more than 2,200 executives agree that their organization’s culture is critical to business success3
  • “96% of respondents say some change is needed to their culture, and 51% think their culture requires a major overhaul.”3

So what does this data tell us?

For one thing, it helps to reinforce the notion that the pace of innovation is increasing.

For another thing, it doesn’t exactly scream that organizations are as committed to building an innovation culture internally as their words externally say about being committed to innovation.

Why is this?

Well, as fellow Innovation Excellence contributor Jeffrey Phillips once said:

“When it comes to innovation, ideas are the easy part. The cultural resistance learned over 30 years of efficiency is the hard part.”

And when you get right down to it, most employees in most organizations are slaves to execution, efficiency, and improvement. And while those things are all important (you can’t have innovation without execution), organizations that fail to strike a balance between improvement/efficiency and innovation/entrepreneurship, are well, doomed to fail.

This increasing pace of innovation along with the lower cost of starting/scaling a business and the always difficult challenge of building a productive culture of continuous innovation, is the reason that the lifespan of organizations is shrinking.

So if it isn’t enough to talk about innovation, or to invest in trying to come up with new products and services, shouldn’t more organizations be also investing to making sure their innovation culture doesn’t, well, stink?

The obvious answer is… (insert yours here)

So, if your innovation culture stinks, I encourage you to come join me at Pipeline 2014 and attend my keynote session on exploring five ways to make it smell better:

“Our Innovation Culture Stinks – Five Ways to Make it Smell Better”

It’s a free virtual event on June 6, 2014.

I look forward to seeing you there!

Sources:
1. Innosight/Richard N. Foster/Standard & Poor’s
2. Hill & Knowlton Executive Survey
3. Booz & Company Global Culture and Change Management Survey 2013


Build a common language of innovation on your team

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Innovation Quotes of the Day – May 29, 2012


“If you get people to ‘freely’ talk about innovation, its importance, its impact and can ‘paint’ the future in broad brush strokes, they achieve a growing clarity and enthusiasm and that often missing critical component – a sense of shared identity.”

– Paul Hobcraft


“The United States leads the world in innovation because it has created the perfect storm of a risk tolerant citizenry, where failure is sometimes a badge of honor, and a government that invests in basic research, helps to commercialize it, and for the most part tends to go out of the way from a regulatory standpoint.”

– Braden Kelley


“Organizations love to run the aforementioned innovation processes through the middle of the enterprise which is designed to eliminate variation. Think about your metrics, hurdle rates and stage-gate systems and it becomes clear that these practices are designed to created stability through standards, policies and similar controls. Innovation moves from the outside of the bell curve, where risk and reward are reversed, and moves to middle over time.”

– Jeff DeGraff


What are some of your favorite innovation quotes?

Add one or more to the comments, listing the quote and who said it, and I’ll share the best of the submissions as future innovation quotes of the day!

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Innovation Quotes of the Day – May 23, 2012


“It’s not about breaking the rules. It is about abandoning the concept of rules altogether”

– Paul Lemberg
– Submitted by Bill Dobbins


“Innovation is a team sport and everyone is innovative in their own way. Hopefully when you look at The Nine Innovation Roles it reinforces that you too can contribute to innovation success and that the lone innovator myth is just that – a myth.”

– Braden Kelley


“There are risks and costs to action. But they are far less than the long range risks of comfortable inaction.”

– John F. Kennedy


What are some of your favorite innovation quotes?

Add one or more to the comments, listing the quote and who said it, and I’ll share the best of the submissions as future innovation quotes of the day!

Subscribe to Human-Centered Change & Innovation WeeklySign up here to get Human-Centered Change & Innovation Weekly delivered to your inbox every week.

Innovation Quotes of the Day – April 5, 2012


“If you don’t like change you will like irrelevance even less.”

– Former Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army Eric Shinseki


“Innovation is about risk and customers, two things that many organizations try and avoid.”

– Braden Kelley


What are some of your favorite innovation quotes?

Add one or more to the comments, listing the quote and who said it, and I’ll share the best of the submissions as future innovation quotes of the day!

Subscribe to Human-Centered Change & Innovation WeeklySign up here to get Human-Centered Change & Innovation Weekly delivered to your inbox every week.