Tag Archives: transformation

One Day Sale – Charting Change – Second Edition

Wow! Exciting news!

In honor of International Women’s Day my publisher is having a 24 hour flash sale that will allow you to get the hardcover or the digital version (eBook) of my latest best-selling book Charting Change for 50% off!

What People Are Saying

Daniel H Pink “There’s no denying it: Change is scary. But it’s also inevitable. In Charting Change, Braden Kelley gives you a toolkit and a blueprint for initiating and managing change in your organization, no matter what form it takes.”
– Daniel H. Pink, author of Drive and To Sell is Human
Phil McKinney “Braden Kelley and his merry band of guest experts have done a nice job of visualizing in Charting Change how to make future change efforts more collaborative. Kelley shows how to draw out the hidden assumptions and land mines early in the change planning process, and presents some great techniques for keeping people aligned as a change effort or project moves forward.”
– Phil McKinney, retired CTO for Hewlett-Packard and author of Beyond the Obvious
Marshall Goldsmith “Higher employee retention? Increased revenue? Process enhancements? Whatever your change goal, Charting Change is full of bright ideas and invaluable visual guides to walk you through change in any area where your organization needs it.”
– Marshall Goldsmith is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Triggers, MOJO and What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

You must go to SpringerLink for this Cyber Sale:

  • The offer is valid until March 10, 2024 only using code IWD24

Click here to get this deal using code IWD24

Quick reminder: Everyone can download ten free tools from the Human-Centered Change methodology by going to its page on this site via the link in this sentence, and book buyers can get 26 of the 70+ tools from the Change Planning Toolkit (including the Change Planning Canvas™) by contacting me with proof of purchase.

*This offer is valid for selected English-language Springer, Apress & Palgrave books & eBooks and is redeemable on link.springer.com only. Titles affected by fixed book price laws, forthcoming titles and titles temporarily not available on springer.com are excluded from this promotion, as are reference works, handbooks, encyclopedias, subscriptions, or bulk purchases. The currency in which your order will be invoiced depends on the billing address associated with the payment method used, not necessarily your preferred currency. Regional VAT/tax may apply. Promotional prices may change due to exchange rates. This offer is valid for individual customers only. Booksellers, book distributors, and institutions such as libraries and corporations please visit springernature.com/contact-us. This promotion does not work in combination with other discounts or gift cards. Promotional prices may change due to exchange rates.

Transformation is a Journey Not a Destination

Transformation is a Journey Not a Destination

GUEST POST from Greg Satell

When Mohandas Gandhi was a young lawyer he was so shy that he couldn’t even bring himself to speak in an open courtroom. He was also impulsive and had a nasty temper. Nelson Mandela started out as an angry nationalist, who argued vigorously about joining forces with other racial groups in a coalition to fight against Apartheid.

Yet as I explain in my book Cascades, both men learned to conquer themselves and evolved into inspirational leaders that achieved transformational change. Movements, as the name implies, must be kinetic to be successful. They need to start in one place and end up somewhere else, evolving and changing along the way.

The same is true for an organization. To create a real impact on the world, you first must drive change internally. That’s not easy and it doesn’t happen all at once, which is why most transformations fail. However, successful leaders understand that to bring true change about it is not enough to simply plan and direct action, you have to inspire and empower belief.

Building A Genome of Values

When Lou Gerstner took over as CEO of IBM in 1993, the company was near bankruptcy. Many thought it was a dinosaur and should be broken up. Yet Gerstner saw that its customers needed it to help them run their mission-critical systems and the death of IBM was the last thing they wanted. He knew that to save the company, he would have transform it and he started with its values.

“At IBM we had lost sight of our values,” Irving Wladawsky-Berger, one of Gerstner’s chief lieutenants, told me. “IBM had always valued competitiveness, but we had started to compete with each other internally rather than working together to beat the competition. Lou put a stop to that and even let go some senior executives who were known for infighting.”

Pushing top executives out the door is never easy. Most are hard working, ambitious and smart, which is how they got to be top executives in the first place. Yet sometimes you have to fire nasty people, even if they outwardly seem like good performers. That’s how you change the culture and build a collaborative workplace.

In doing so, Gerstner led one of the greatest turnarounds in corporate history. By the late 1990s, his company was thriving again and continues to be profitable to this day. That would have never been true if he saw the problem as one of merely strategy and tactics. IBM had to change from the inside first.

Forging Shared Purpose And Shared Consciousness

When General Stanley McChrystal first took over Special Forces in Iraq, he knew he had a magnificently engineered military machine. No force in the world could match their efficiency, expertise and effectiveness. Yet, although they were winning every battle, they were losing the war.

The problem, as he explained in his book, Team of Teams, wasn’t one of capability, but interoperability. His forces would kill or capture Al Qaeda operatives and collect valuable intelligence. Yet it often took weeks for the prisoners to be questioned and the data to be analyzed. By that time, the information was often no longer relevant or actionable.

What McChrystal realized was that if his forces were going to defeat a network, they had to become a network and he set out to build connections within his organization to improve trust and interoperability. He upgraded liaison officer positions to only include the best operators and embedded commandos into intelligence teams and vice versa.

While formal structure and traditional lines of authority stayed very much in place, operating principles changed markedly. The transformation wasn’t immediate, but soon personal relationships and shared purpose replaced archaic customs, procedures and internal rivalries. Even those resistant to change found themselves outnumbered and began to alter their views and behavior.

That allowed McChrystal to also change the way he led. While in traditional organizations information is passed up through the chain of command and decisions are made at the top, McChrystal saw that model could be flipped. Now, he helped information get to the right place and decisions could be made lower down. As a result, operating efficiency increased by a factor of seventeen and soon the terrorists were on the run.

Forging Cultural Awareness

As one of the largest credit bureaus in the world, Experian’s customers depend on it to help determine which customers are good risks and which aren’t. If its standards are too lax, lending organizations lose money from making bad loans. However, the opposite is also true. There are also consequences if it fails to identify good credit risks.

“One of the things that made the US so successful throughout its history is the principle that everybody can participate in the American dream,” Alexander Lintner, Group President at Experian told me. “Yet today, if you don’t have access to credit, it is very hard to live that dream. You can’t buy a house or a new car or do many other things most people want to do.”

“If we rely solely on traditional credit scores about 26 million working age adults are left out of the credit system,” he continued. “That means our clients are missing out on as many as 26 million potential customers. So at Experian, we’ve been working on extended scores based on alternative data, such as rent and utility bills, to help establish a credit history.”

As a fairly recent immigrant to the country, Lintner knows the problems that having a lack of a formal credit history can cause. He credits his company’s efforts to promote cultural awareness programs internally through Employee Resource Groups for driving a passion to solve problems for customers and the public at large, especially related to financial inclusion.

Transformation Starts At Home

Clearly, Experian didn’t start its Employee Resource Groups as a product development strategy, but to improve the lives of its employees. “We strive to make a very diverse group of people feel that Experian is their home,” Lintner says. Nevertheless, Its internal commitment helped create empathy for those who are excluded from the financial system and helped lead to a solution.

Chances are, that won’t end with using alternative data to improve credit scores, but will affect many other facets of its business. To drive a true desire to solve problems, it must be genuine. Much like Gandhi and Mandela, you have to first drive change internally if you hope to create a real impact on the world.

Wladawsky-Berger talks about IBM’s earlier transformation in similar terms. “Because the transformation was about values first and technology second, we were able to continue to embrace those values as the technology and marketplace continued to evolve,” he told me and credits that transformation in values with the company’s continued profitability. While IBM has had its challenges over the years, nobody talks about breaking it up anymore.

What most organizations fail to understand and internalize is that transformation is always a journey, never a destination. There is no immediate return on investment from cultural change. Investors won’t cheer you on for firing top employees who are disruptive or creating Employee Resource Groups. Yet great companies understand that transformation always starts at home.

— Article courtesy of the Digital Tonto blog and previously appeared on Inc.com
— Image credit: Pexels

Subscribe to Human-Centered Change & Innovation WeeklySign up here to join 17,000+ leaders getting Human-Centered Change & Innovation Weekly delivered to their inbox every week.

Top 100 Innovation and Transformation Articles of 2023

Top 100 Innovation and Transformation Articles of 2023

2021 marked the re-birth of my original Blogging Innovation blog as a new blog called Human-Centered Change and Innovation.

Many of you may know that Blogging Innovation grew into the world’s most popular global innovation community before being re-branded as InnovationExcellence.com and being ultimately sold to DisruptorLeague.com.

Thanks to an outpouring of support I’ve ignited the fuse of this new multiple author blog around the topics of human-centered change, innovation, transformation and design.

I feel blessed that the global innovation and change professional communities have responded with a growing roster of contributing authors and more than 17,000 newsletter subscribers.

To celebrate we’ve pulled together the Top 100 Innovation and Transformation Articles of 2023 from our archive of over 1,800 articles on these topics.

We do some other rankings too.

We just published the Top 40 Innovation Bloggers of 2023 and as the volume of this blog has grown we have brought back our monthly article ranking to complement this annual one.

But enough delay, here are the 100 most popular innovation and transformation posts of 2023.

Did your favorite make the cut?

1. Fear is a Leading Indicator of Personal Growth – by Mike Shipulski

2. The Education Business Model Canvas – by Arlen Meyers

3. Act Like an Owner – Revisited! – by Shep Hyken

4. Free Innovation Maturity Assessment – by Braden Kelley

5. The Role of Stakeholder Analysis in Change Management – by Art Inteligencia

6. What is Human-Centered Change? – by Braden Kelley

7. Sustaining Imagination is Hard – by Braden Kelley

8. The One Movie All Electric Car Designers Should Watch – by Braden Kelley

9. 50 Cognitive Biases Reference – Free Download – by Braden Kelley

10. A 90% Project Failure Rate Means You’re Doing it Wrong – by Mike Shipulski

11. No Regret Decisions: The First Steps of Leading through Hyper-Change – by Phil Buckley

12. Reversible versus Irreversible Decisions – by Farnham Street

13. Three Maps to Innovation Success – by Robyn Bolton

14. Why Most Corporate Innovation Programs Fail (And How To Make Them Succeed) – by Greg Satell

15. The Paradox of Innovation Leadership – by Janet Sernack

16. Innovation Management ISO 56000 Series Explained – by Diana Porumboiu

17. An Introduction to Journey Maps – by Braden Kelley

18. Sprint Toward the Innovation Action – by Mike Shipulski

19. Marriott’s Approach to Customer Service – by Shep Hyken

20. Should a Bad Grade in Organic Chemistry be a Doctor Killer? – NYU Professor Fired for Giving Students Bad Grades – by Arlen Meyers, M.D.

21. How Networks Power Transformation – by Greg Satell

22. Are We Abandoning Science? – by Greg Satell

23. A Tipping Point for Organizational Culture – by Janet Sernack

24. Latest Interview with the What’s Next? Podcast – with Braden Kelley

25. Scale Your Innovation by Mapping Your Value Network – by John Bessant

26. Leveraging Emotional Intelligence in Change Leadership – by Art Inteligencia

27. Visual Project Charter™ – 35″ x 56″ (Poster Size) and JPG for Online Whiteboarding – by Braden Kelley

28. Unintended Consequences. The Hidden Risk of Fast-Paced Innovation – by Pete Foley

29. A Shortcut to Making Strategic Trade-Offs – by Geoffrey A. Moore

30. 95% of Work is Noise – by Mike Shipulski

Build a common language of innovation on your team

31. 8 Strategies to Future-Proofing Your Business & Gaining Competitive Advantage – by Teresa Spangler

32. The Nine Innovation Roles – by Braden Kelley

33. The Fail Fast Fallacy – by Rachel Audige

34. What is the Difference Between Signals and Trends? – by Art Inteligencia

35. A Top-Down Open Innovation Approach – by Geoffrey A. Moore

36. FutureHacking – Be Your Own Futurist – by Braden Kelley

37. Five Key Digital Transformation Barriers – by Howard Tiersky

38. The Malcolm Gladwell Trap – by Greg Satell

39. Four Characteristics of High Performing Teams – by David Burkus

40. ACMP Standard for Change Management® Visualization – 35″ x 56″ (Poster Size) – Association of Change Management Professionals – by Braden Kelley

41. 39 Digital Transformation Hacks – by Stefan Lindegaard

42. The Impact of Artificial Intelligence on Future Employment – by Chateau G Pato

43. A Triumph of Artificial Intelligence Rhetoric – Understanding ChatGPT – by Geoffrey A. Moore

44. Imagination versus Knowledge – Is imagination really more important? – by Janet Sernack

45. A New Innovation Sphere – by Pete Foley

46. The Pyramid of Results, Motivation and Ability – Changing Outcomes, Changing Behavior – by Braden Kelley

47. Three HOW MIGHT WE Alternatives That Actually Spark Creative Ideas – by Robyn Bolton

48. Innovation vs. Invention vs. Creativity – by Braden Kelley

49. Where People Go Wrong with Minimum Viable Products – by Greg Satell

50. Will Artificial Intelligence Make Us Stupid? – by Shep Hyken

Accelerate your change and transformation success

51. A Global Perspective on Psychological Safety – by Stefan Lindegaard

52. Customer Service is a Team Sport – by Shep Hyken

53. Top 40 Innovation Bloggers of 2022 – Curated by Braden Kelley

54. A Flop is Not a Failure – by John Bessant

55. Generation AI Replacing Generation Z – by Braden Kelley

56. ‘Innovation’ is Killing Innovation. How Do We Save It? – by Robyn Bolton

57. Ten Ways to Make Time for Innovation – by Nick Jain

58. The Five Keys to Successful Change – by Braden Kelley

59. Back to Basics: The Innovation Alphabet – by Robyn Bolton

60. The Role of Stakeholder Analysis in Change Management – by Art Inteligencia

61. Will CHATgpt make us more or less innovative? – by Pete Foley

62. 99.7% of Innovation Processes Miss These 3 Essential Steps – by Robyn Bolton

63. Rethinking Customer Journeys – by Geoffrey A. Moore

64. Reasons Change Management Frequently Fails – by Greg Satell

65. The Experiment Canvas™ – 35″ x 56″ (Poster Size) – by Braden Kelley

66. AI Has Already Taken Over the World – by Braden Kelley

67. How to Lead Innovation and Embrace Innovative Leadership – by Diana Porumboiu

68. Five Questions All Leaders Should Always Be Asking – by David Burkus

69. Latest Innovation Management Research Revealed – by Braden Kelley

70. A Guide to Effective Brainstorming – by Diana Porumboiu

71. Unlocking the Power of Imagination – How Humans and AI Can Collaborate for Innovation and Creativity – by Teresa Spangler

72. Rise of the Prompt Engineer – by Art Inteligencia

73. Taking Care of Yourself is Not Impossible – by Mike Shipulski

74. Design Thinking Facilitator Guide – A Crash Course in the Basics – by Douglas Ferguson

75. What Have We Learned About Digital Transformation Thus Far? – by Geoffrey A. Moore

76. Building a Better Change Communication Plan – by Braden Kelley

77. How to Determine if Your Problem is Worth Solving – by Mike Shipulski

78. Increasing Organizational Agility – by Braden Kelley

79. Mystery of Stonehenge Solved – by Braden Kelley

80. Agility is the 2023 Success Factor – by Soren Kaplan

Get the Change Planning Toolkit

81. The Five Gifts of Uncertainty – by Robyn Bolton

82. 3 Innovation Types Not What You Think They Are – by Robyn Bolton

83. Using Limits to Become Limitless – by Rachel Audige

84. What Disruptive Innovation Really Is – by Geoffrey A. Moore

85. Today’s Customer Wants to Go Fast – by Shep Hyken

86. The 6 Building Blocks of Great Teams – by David Burkus

87. Unlock Hundreds of Ideas by Doing This One Thing – Inspired by Hollywood – by Robyn Bolton

88. Moneyball and the Beginning, Middle, and End of Innovation – by Robyn Bolton

89. There are Only 3 Reasons to Innovate – Which One is Yours? – by Robyn Bolton

90. A Shortcut to Making Strategic Trade-Offs – by Geoffrey A. Moore

91. Customer Experience Personified – by Braden Kelley

92. 3 Steps to a Truly Terrific Innovation Team – by Robyn Bolton

93. Building a Positive Team Culture – by David Burkus

94. Apple Watch Must Die – by Braden Kelley

95. Kickstarting Change and Innovation in Uncertain Times – by Janet Sernack

96. Take Charge of Your Mind to Reclaim Your Potential – by Janet Sernack

97. Psychological Safety, Growth Mindset and Difficult Conversations to Shape the Future – by Stefan Lindegaard

98. 10 Ways to Rock the Customer Experience In 2023 – by Shep Hyken

99. Artificial Intelligence is Forcing Us to Answer Some Very Human Questions – by Greg Satell

100. 23 Ways in 2023 to Create Amazing Experiences – by Shep Hyken

Curious which article just missed the cut? Well, here it is just for fun:

101. Why Business Strategies Should Not Be Scientific – by Greg Satell

These are the Top 100 innovation and transformation articles of 2023 based on the number of page views. If your favorite Human-Centered Change & Innovation article didn’t make the cut, then send a tweet to @innovate and maybe we’ll consider doing a People’s Choice List for 2023.

If you’re not familiar with Human-Centered Change & Innovation, we publish 1-6 new articles every week focused on human-centered change, innovation, transformation and design insights from our roster of contributing authors and ad hoc submissions from community members. Get the articles right in your Facebook feed or on Twitter or LinkedIn too!

Editor’s Note: Human-Centered Change & Innovation is open to contributions from any and all the innovation & transformation professionals out there (practitioners, professors, researchers, consultants, authors, etc.) who have a valuable insight to share with everyone for the greater good. If you’d like to contribute, contact us.

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

Build Trust Before Beginning a Transformation

Build Trust Before Beginning a Transformation

GUEST POST from Greg Satell

A few years ago I was invited by Accenture Strategy, along with other thought leaders such as Bruce Weinstein and Andrew Winston, to discuss its research on trust and competitive agility. In a study of 7,000 companies the firm found that trust among a diverse ecosystem of stakeholders is increasingly becoming a competitive advantage.

One of the most interesting aspects of the discussion was how crucial trust is for driving transformation and change. We tend to think of trust as static, but Accenture’s research, as well as that of the participants, made it clear that trust is especially important when you need to drive an organization to do something different.

All too often, transformation is seen as a simple matter of strategy and tactics, but it’s far more than that. Nobody can really drive change alone. You need buy-in from a variety of stakeholders, such as customers, employees, suppliers, analysts and investors to make it work. So before you set out to transform your organization, you first need to build trust.

Purpose, Values And Constraints

Every change effort starts out with a grievance. Sales are down, customers are unhappy, regulation restricts a once profitable activity or something else. That’s what drives the need to change, but it does little to provide the will to change. In researching my book Cascades, I found that every successful change effort starts by transforming an initial grievance into an affirmative “vision of tomorrow.” To drive a true transformation, people need to believe in it.

For example, when Paul O’Neill took over as CEO at Alcoa in 1987, the company was in dire straits. So analysts were more than surprised when he declared that his first priority at the company would be safety. It was an odd vision for a struggling company, but O’Neill understood that improving safety would also improve operational excellence. The company hit record profits a year later.

Or consider Lou Gerstner’s tenure at IBM. When he arrived, the once high-flying firm was near bankruptcy and many thought it should be broken up. Yet Gerstner saw that by shifting its focus from its own “stack of proprietary products” to its customers’ “stack of business processes,” the company could have a bright future. The result was one of the greatest turnarounds in history.

Notice how each of these visions also included important constraints. When safety is the first priority, managers can’t cut corners. When customers’ “stack of business processes” is the company’s focus, salespeople can’t wring every last dollar out of each deal. Yet those constraints are crucial in building credibility with key stakeholders, such as unions and customers.

Small Groups, Loosely Connected

Anybody who has ever been married or had kids knows how hard it can be to convince even one person about a significant decision. So it is somewhat puzzling that business leaders so often think they can convince thousands through mass communication campaigns. The truth is that change happens when people convince each other.

That’s why every change efforts depends on small groups, loosely connected, but united by a shared purpose. Small groups engender trust, loose connections provide reach and a shared purpose gives a change effort a raison d’être. You need all three to successfully drive a transformation.

Consider the case of Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, which in 2007 saw sales for one of its top drugs fall by 70% due to the launch of a generic version. In order to compete more effectively, the company’s leadership embarked on an ambitious effort to instill lean manufacturing practices across 25 sites employing 17,000 people.

Yet rather than try to transform the whole company all at once, it chose one keystone change, involving factory changeovers, at one facility. It had limited impact, but with the success of that one initiative at one facility, it then moved on to others, implementing the transformation in phases, speeding up as the process gained momentum.

The result was a 25% reduction in costs, an improvement in quality and a more motivated workforce. It’s tough to imagine how that could have been achieved if the management had simply decided to cut salaries instead.

Training To Empower Transformation

When Barry Libenson first arrived at Experian as Global CIO in 2015, he spent the first few months talking to customers and everywhere he went they were asking for the same thing: access to real-time data. That was much easier said than done, because it meant that he would have to shift from a traditional data infrastructure to the cloud, which would entail far more than just implementing new technologies.

“The organizational changes were pretty enormous,” Libenson told me. “For example, agile development requires far more collaboration than traditional waterfall development, so we needed to physically reconfigure how people were organized. We also needed different skill sets in different places so that required more changes and so on.”

To spur these changes, the company identified high potential employees that it thought could help drive change. It also brought in outside partners to train them in agile development, so that they could train and coach others. Those employees then became centers of excellence and helped drive change even further throughout the organization.

“Building trust was crucial to making it all work,” Vijay Mehta, Chief Innovation Officer at the credit bureau stressed to me. “When you are trying to build an innovative, fail-fast culture, people need to trust that they won’t be penalized for being ambitious and failing. So that had to come from the top and be constantly pushed all the way down to make it all work.”

Transformation Is Always A Journey, Never A Destination

All too often, we see change through the lens of a specific objective. Paul O’Neill needed to return his company to operational excellence. Wyeth needed to cut costs to compete with generics. To provide its customers with the access to real-time data, Experian needed to shift its decades-old infrastructure to the cloud.

Yet change is never as easy as it first would seem, because the status quo has inertia on its side, which can be a powerful force in any enterprise. In fact, research by McKinsey has found that only 26% of transformational efforts succeed. The reason is that change is often narrowly construed as a series of procedures, a cost cutting target or a technology implementation project.

Yet Alcoa, IBM, Wyeth and Experian succeeded where most fail because they saw driving change as more than just a series of objectives, but as a shift in values, skills and capabilities. That’s why they started not with a detailed plan, but with building trust, because leaders can’t implement change, they can only inspire and empower it.

The truth is that transformation is always a journey, never a destination. O’Neil’s focus on safety unlocked a passion for operational excellence. Gerstner’s focus on IBM’s customers led it to a highly profitable service business based on deep partnerships. Wyeth’s lean manufacturing program empowered its employees to create value for the company and its customers. Experian’s shift to the cloud was just a prelude to an ambitious foray into artificial intelligence.

None of this would be possible without trust, because trust is open ended. It is, in its essence, a social contract that demands that employees, customers and other stakeholders are not treated as merely means to an end, but ends in themselves.

— Article courtesy of the Digital Tonto blog and previously appeared on Inc.com
— Image credit: Unsplash

Subscribe to Human-Centered Change & Innovation WeeklySign up here to join 17,000+ leaders getting Human-Centered Change & Innovation Weekly delivered to their inbox every week.

Voting Closed – Top 40 Innovation Bloggers of 2023

Vote for Top 40 Innovation BloggersHappy Holidays!

For more than a decade I’ve devoted myself to making innovation insights accessible for the greater good, because I truly believe that the better our organizations get at delivering value to their stakeholders the less waste of natural resources and human resources there will be.

As a result, we are eternally grateful to all of you out there who take the time to create and share great innovation articles, presentations, white papers, and videos with Braden Kelley and the Human-Centered Change and Innovation team. As a small thank you to those of you who follow along, we like to make a list of the Top 40 Innovation Bloggers available each year!

Our lists from the ten previous years have been tremendously popular, including:

Top 40 Innovation Bloggers of 2015
Top 40 Innovation Bloggers of 2016
Top 40 Innovation Bloggers of 2017
Top 40 Innovation Bloggers of 2018
Top 40 Innovation Bloggers of 2019
Top 40 Innovation Bloggers of 2020
Top 40 Innovation Bloggers of 2021
Top 40 Innovation Bloggers of 2022

Do you just have someone that you like to read that writes about innovation, or some of the important adjacencies – trends, consumer psychology, change, leadership, strategy, behavioral economics, collaboration, or design thinking?

Human-Centered Change and Innovation is now looking to recognize the Top 40 Innovation Bloggers of 2023.

It is time to vote and help us narrow things down.

The deadline for submitting votes is December 31, 2023 at midnight GMT.

Build a Common Language of Innovation on your team

The ranking will be done by me with influence from votes and nominations. The quality and quantity of contributions to this web site by an author will be a BIG contributing factor (through the end of the voting period).

You can vote in any of these three ways (and each earns points for them, so please feel free to vote all three ways):

  1. Sending us the name of the blogger by @reply on twitter to @innovate
  2. Adding the name of the blogger as a comment to this article’s posting on Facebook
  3. Adding the name of the blogger as a comment to this article’s posting on our Linkedin Page (Be sure and follow us)

The official Top 40 Innovation Bloggers of 2023 will then be announced here in early January 2024.

Here are the people who received nominations this year along with some carryover recommendations (in alphabetical order):

Adi Gaskell – @adigaskell
Alain Thys
Alex Goryachev
Andy Heikkila – @AndyO_TheHammer
Annette Franz
Arlen Meyers – @sopeofficial
Art Inteligencia
Ayelet Baron
Braden Kelley – @innovate
Brian Miller
Bruce Fairley
Chad McAllister – @ChadMcAllister
Chateau G Pato
Chris Beswick
Chris Rollins
Dr. Detlef Reis
Dainora Jociute
Dan Blacharski – @Dan_Blacharski
Daniel Burrus – @DanielBurrus
Daniel Lock
David Burkus
Dean and Linda Anderson
Dennis Stauffer
Diana Porumboiu
Douglas Ferguson
Drew Boyd – @DrewBoyd
Frank Mattes – @FrankMattes
Geoffrey A Moore
Gregg Fraley – @greggfraley
Greg Satell – @Digitaltonto
Helen Yu
Howard Tiersky
Janet Sernack – @JanetSernack
Jeffrey Baumgartner – @creativejeffrey
Jeff Freedman – @SmallArmyAgency
Jeffrey Phillips – @ovoinnovation
Jesse Nieminen – @nieminenjesse
John Bessant
Jorge Barba – @JorgeBarba
Julian Birkinshaw – @JBirkinshaw
Julie Anixter – @julieanixter
Kate Hammer – @Kate_Hammer
Kevin McFarthing – @InnovationFixer
Leo Chan
Lou Killeffer – @LKilleffer
Manuel Berdoy

Accelerate your change and transformation success

Mari Anixter- @MariAnixter
Maria Paula Oliveira – @mpaulaoliveira
Matthew E May – @MatthewEMay
Michael Graber – @SouthernGrowth
Mike Brown – @Brainzooming
Mike Shipulski – @MikeShipulski
Mukesh Gupta
Nick Jain
Nick Partridge – @KnewNewNeu
Nicolas Bry – @NicoBry
Nicholas Longrich
Norbert Majerus and George Taninecz
Pamela Soin
Patricia Salamone
Paul Hobcraft – @Paul4innovating
Paul Sloane – @paulsloane
Pete Foley – @foley_pete
Rachel Audige
Ralph Christian Ohr – @ralph_ohr
Randy Pennington
Richard Haasnoot – @Innovate2Grow
Robert B Tucker – @RobertBTucker
Robyn Bolton – @rm_bolton
Saul Kaplan – @skap5
Shep Hyken – @hyken
Shilpi Kumar
Scott Anthony – @ScottDAnthony
Scott Bowden – @scottbowden51
Shelly Greenway – @ChiefDistiller
Soren Kaplan – @SorenKaplan
Stefan Lindegaard – @Lindegaard
Stephen Shapiro – @stephenshapiro
Steve Blank
Steven Forth – @StevenForth
Tamara Kleinberg – @LaunchStreet
Teresa Spangler – @composerspang
Tom Koulopoulos – @TKspeaks
Tullio Siragusa
Yoram Solomon – @yoram

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

We’re curious to see who you think is worth reading!

Nominations Closed – Top 40 Innovation Bloggers of 2023

Nominations Closed for the Top 40 Innovation Bloggers of 2023Human-Centered Change and Innovation loves making innovation insights accessible for the greater good, because we truly believe that the better our organizations get at delivering value to their stakeholders the less waste of natural resources and human resources there will be.

As a result, we are eternally grateful to all of you out there who take the time to create and share great innovation articles, presentations, white papers, and videos with Braden Kelley and the Human-Centered Change and Innovation team. As a small thank you to those of you who follow along, we like to make a list of the Top 40 Innovation Bloggers available each year!

Our lists from the ten previous years have been tremendously popular, including:

Top 40 Innovation Bloggers of 2015
Top 40 Innovation Bloggers of 2016
Top 40 Innovation Bloggers of 2017
Top 40 Innovation Bloggers of 2018
Top 40 Innovation Bloggers of 2019
Top 40 Innovation Bloggers of 2020
Top 40 Innovation Bloggers of 2021
Top 40 Innovation Bloggers of 2022

Do you just have someone that you like to read that writes about innovation, or some of the important adjacencies – trends, consumer psychology, change, leadership, strategy, behavioral economics, collaboration, or design thinking?

Human-Centered Change and Innovation is now looking for the Top 40 Innovation Bloggers of 2023.

The deadline for submitting nominations is December 24, 2023 at midnight GMT.

You can submit a nomination either of these two ways:

  1. Sending us the name of the blogger and the url of their blog by @reply on twitter to @innovate
  2. Sending the name of the blogger and the url of their blog and your e-mail address using our contact form

(Note: HUGE bonus points for being a contributing author)

So, think about who you like to read and let us know by midnight GMT on December 24, 2023.

We will then compile a voting list of all the nominations, and publish it on December 25, 2023.

Voting will then be open from December 25, 2023 – January 1, 2024 via comments and twitter @replies to @innovate.

The ranking will be done by me with influence from votes and nominations. The quality and quantity of contributions by an author to this web site will be a contributing factor.

Contact me with writing samples if you’d like to publish your articles on our platform!

The official Top 40 Innovation Bloggers of 2023 will then be announced on here in early January 2024.

We’re curious to see who you think is worth reading!

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

How to Fix Corporate Transformation Failure

How to Fix Corporate Transformation Failure

GUEST POST from Greg Satell

We live in an age in which change has become the only constant. So it’s not surprising that change management models have become popular. Executives are urged to develop a plan to communicate the need for change, create a sense of urgency and then drive the process through to completion.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of these efforts fail and it’s not hard to see why. Anybody who’s ever been married or had kids knows first-hand how difficult it can be to convince even a single person of something. Any effort to persuade hundreds, if not thousands, of people through some kind of mass effort is setting the bar pretty high.

However, as I explain in Cascades, what you can do is help them convince each other by changing the dynamic so that people enthusiastic about change can influence other (slightly less) enthusiastic people. The truth is that small groups, loosely connected, but united by a shared purpose drive transformational change. So that’s where you need to start.

The Power Of Local Majorities

In the 1950’s, the prominent psychologist Solomon Asch undertook a pathbreaking series of conformity studies. The design of the study was simple, but ingenuous. He merely showed people pairs of cards, asking them to match the length of a single line on one card with one of three on an adjacent card. The answer was meant to be obvious.

However, as the experimenter went around the room, one person after another gave the same wrong answer. When it reached the final person in the group (in truth, the only real subject, the rest were confederates), the vast majority of the time that person conformed to the majority opinion, even if it was obviously wrong!

Majorities don’t just rule, they also influence, especially local majorities. The effect is even more powerful when the issue at hand is more ambiguous than the length of a line on a card. More recent research suggests that the effect applies not only to people we know well, but that we are also influenced even by second and third-degree relationships.

So perhaps the best way to convince somebody of something is to surround them with people who hold a different opinion. To extend the marriage analogy a bit, I might have a hard time convincing my wife or daughter, say, that my jokes are funny and not at all corny, but if they are surrounded by people who think I’m hilarious, they’ll be more likely to think so too.

Changing Dynamics

The problem with creating change throughout an organization is that any sufficiently large group of people will hold a variety of opinions about virtually any matter and these opinions tend to be widely dispersed. So the first step in creating large-scale change is to start thinking about where to target your efforts and there are two tools that can help you do that.

The first, called the Spectrum of Allies, helps you identify which people are active or passive supporters of the change you want to bring about, which are neutral and which actively or passively oppose it. Once you are able to identify these groups, you can start mobilizing the most enthusiastic supporters to start influencing the other groups to shift their opinions. You probably won’t ever convince the active opposition, but you can isolate and neutralize them.

The second tool, called the Pillars of Support, identifies stakeholder groups that can help bring change about. In a typical corporation, these might be business unit leaders, customer groups, industry associations, regulators and so on. These stakeholders are crucial for supporting the status quo, so if you want to drive change effectively, you will need to pull them in.

What is crucial is that every tactic mobilizes a specific constituency in the Spectrum of Allies to influence a specific stakeholder group in the Pillars of Support. For example, in 1984, Anti-Apartheid activists spray-painted “WHITES ONLY” and “BLACKS” above pairs of Barclays ATMs in British university town to draw attention to the bank’s investments in South Africa.

This of course, had little to no effect on public opinion in South Africa, but it meant a lot to the English university students that the bank wanted to attract. Its share of student accounts quickly plummeted from 27% to 15% and two years later Barclays pulled out all of its investments from the country, which greatly damaged the Apartheid regime.

Identifying A Keystone Change

Every change effort begins with a grievance: sales are down, customers are unhappy or perhaps a new technology threatens to disrupt a business model. Change starts when leaders are able to articulate a clear and affirmative “vision for tomorrow” that is empowering and points toward a better future.

However, the vision can rarely be achieved all at once. That’s why successful change efforts define a keystone change, which identifies a tangible goal, involves multiple stakeholders and paves the way for future change. A successful keystone change can supercharge your efforts to shift the Spectrum of Allies and pull in Pillars of Support.

For example, when Experian’s CIO, Barry Libenson, set out to shift his company to the cloud, he knew it would be an enormous undertaking. As one of the largest credit bureaus in the world, there were serious concerns that shifting its computing infrastructure would create vulnerabilities in its cybersecurity and its business model.

So rather than embarking on a multi-year death march to implement cloud technology throughout the company, he started with building internal APIs to build momentum. The move involved many of the same stakeholders he would need for the larger project, but involved far less risk and was able to show clear benefits that paved the way for future change.

In Cascades, I detail a number of cases, from major turnarounds at companies like IBM and Alcoa, to movements to gain independence in India and to secure LGBT rights in America. In each case, a keystone change played a major role in bringing change about.

Surviving Victory

As Saul Alinsky pointed out decades ago, every revolution inspires a counterrevolution. So many change efforts that show initial success ultimately fail because of backlash from key stakeholders. That’s why it is crucial to plan how you will survive victory by rooting your change effort in values, skills and capabilities, rather than in specific objectives or tactics.

For example, Blockbuster Video’s initial response to Netflix in 2004 was extremely successful and, by 2007, it was winning new subscribers faster than the upstart. Yet because it rooted its plan solely in terms of strategy and tactics, the changes were only skin deep. After the CEO left because of a compensation dispute, the strategy was quickly reversed. Blockbuster went bankrupt a few years later.

Compare that to the success at Experian. In both cases, large, successful enterprises needed to move against a disruptive threat. In both cases, legacy infrastructure and business models needed to be replaced. At Experian, however, the move was not rooted in a strategy imposed from above, but through empowering the organization with new skills and capabilities.

That made all the difference, because rather than having to convince the rank and file of the wisdom of moving to the cloud, Libenson was able to empower those already enthusiastic about the initiative. They then became advocates, brought others along and, before long, the enthusiasts soon outnumbered the skeptics.

The truth is you can’t overpower, bribe or coerce people to embrace change. By focusing on changing the dynamics upon which a transformation can take place, you can empower those within your organization to drive change themselves. The role of a leaders is no longer to plan and direct action, but to inspire and empower belief.

— Article courtesy of the Digital Tonto blog
— Image credit: Unsplash

Subscribe to Human-Centered Change & Innovation WeeklySign up here to join 17,000+ leaders getting Human-Centered Change & Innovation Weekly delivered to their inbox every week.

How to Make Your Customers Hate You

One Zone at a Time

How to Make Your Customers Hate You

GUEST POST from Geoffrey A. Moore

My most recent book, Zone to Win, lays out a game plan for digital transformation based on organizing your enterprise around four zones. They are the:

  1. Performance Zone, where you make, sell, and deliver the products and services that constitute your core business.
  2. Productivity Zone, where you host all the cost centers that support the Performance Zone, functions like finance, HR, IT, marketing, legal, customer support, and the like.
  3. Incubation Zone, where you experiment with next-generation technologies to see if and how they might play a role in your future.
  4. Transformation Zone, which you bring into existence on a temporary basis for the sole purpose of driving a digital transformation to completion.

The book uses these four zones to help you understand your own company’s dynamics. In this blog, however, we are going to use them to help you understand your customer’s company dynamics.

Here is the key insight. Customers buy your product to create value in one, and normally only one, zone. Depending on which zone they are seeking to improve, their expectations of you will vary dramatically. So, if you really want to get your customers to hate you, you have to know what zone they are targeting with your product or service.

To start with, if your customer is buying your product for their Productivity Zone, they want it to make them more efficient. Typically, that means taking cost out of their existing operations by automating one or more manual tasks, thereby reducing labor, improving quality, and speeding up cycle time. So, if you want to make this customer hate you, load up your overall offer with lots of extras that require additional training, have features that can confuse or distract end users, and generally just gum up the works. Your product will still do what you said it would do, but with any luck, they won’t save a nickel.

Now, if instead they are buying your product to experiment with in their Incubation Zone, they are looking to do some kind of proof of concept project. Of course, real salespeople never sell proofs of concepts, so continue to insist that they go all in for the full Monty. That way, when they find out they can’t actually do what they were hoping to, you will have still scored a good commission, and they will really hate you.

Moving up in the world, perhaps your customer has bought from you to upgrade their Performance Zone by making their operations more customer-focused. This is serious stuff because you are messing with their core business. What an opportunity! All you have to do is over-promise just a little bit, then put in a few bits that are not quite fully baked, turn the whole implementation over to a partner, and then, if the stars align, you can bring down their whole operation and blame it entirely on someone else. That really does get their dander up.

But if you really want to extract the maximum amount of customer vitriol, the best place to engage is in their Transformation Zone. Here the CEO has gone on record that the company will transform its core business to better compete in the digital era. This is the mother lode. Budget is no object, so soak it to the max. Every bell, whistle, doo-dad, service, product—you name it, load it into the cart. Guarantee a transformational trip to the moon and back. Just make sure that the timeline for the project is two years. That way you will be able to collect and cash your commission check before you have to find other employment.

Of course, if for some reason you actually wanted your customer to like you, I suppose you could reverse these recommendations. But where’s the fun in that?

That’s what I think. What do you think?

Image Credit: Pexels

Subscribe to Human-Centered Change & Innovation WeeklySign up here to join 17,000+ leaders getting Human-Centered Change & Innovation Weekly delivered to their inbox every week.

3 Innovation Types Not What You Think They Are

But They Do Determine Your Success

3 Innovation Types Not What You Think They Are

GUEST POST from Robyn Bolton

The Official Story

When discussing innovation, you must be specific so people know what you expect. This is why so many thought leaders, consultants, and practitioners preach the importance of defining different types of innovation.

  • Clayton Christensen encourages focusing on WHY innovation is happening – improve performance, improve efficiency, or create markets – in his 2014 HBR article.
  • The classic Core/Adjacent/Transformational model focuses on WHAT is changing – target customer, offering, financial model, and resources and processes.
  • McKinsey’s 3 Horizons focus on WHEN the results are achieved – this year, 2-3 years, 3-6 years.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the options and worry about which approach is “best.”  But, like all frameworks, they’re all a little bit right and a little bit wrong, and the best one is the one that will be used and get results in your organization.

The REAL story

Everything in the official story is true, but not the whole truth.

“Innovation” is not peanut butter. 

You can’t smear it all over everything and expect deliciousness.

When doing innovation, you must remember your customer – the executives who make decisions, allocate resources, and can accelerate or decimate your efforts.

More importantly, you need to remember their Jobs to be Done (JTBD) – keep my job, feel safe and respected, and be perceived as competent/a rising star – because these jobs define the innovations that will get to market.

Three (3) REAL types of innovation

SAFE – The delightful solution to decision-makers’ JTBD

Most closely aligned with Core innovation, improving performance or efficiency, and Horizon 1 because the focus is on improving what exists in a way that will generate revenue this year or next. Decision-makers feel confident because they’ve “been there and done that” (heck, doing “that” is probably what got them promoted in the first place). In fact, they’re more likely to get in trouble for NOT investing in these types of innovations than they are for investing in them.

STRETCH – The Good Enough solution

Most like Adjacent innovation because they allow decision-makers to keep one foot in the known while “stretching” their other foot into a new (to them) area. This type of innovation makes decision-makers nervous because they don’t have all the answers, but they feel like they at least know what questions to ask. Progress will require more data, and decisions will take longer than most intrapreneurs want. But eventually, enough time and resources (and ego/reputation) will be invested that, unless the team recommends killing it, the project will launch.

SPLATTER – The Terrible solution

No matter what you call them – transformational, radical, breakthrough, disruptive, or moonshots – these innovations make everyone’s eyes light up before reality kicks in and crushes our dreams. These innovations “define the next chapter of our business” and “disrupt ourselves before we’re disrupted.”  These innovations also require decision-makers to let go of everything they know and wander entirely into the unknown. To invest resources in the hope of seeing the return (and reward) come back to their successor (or successor’s successor). To defend their decisions, their team, and themselves when things don’t go exactly as planned.

How to find the REAL type that will get real results.

  1. “You said you want X. Would you describe that for me?” (you may need to give examples). When I worked at Clayton Christensen’s firm, executives would always call and ask for our help to create a disruptive innovation. When I would explain what they were actually asking for (something with “good enough” performance and a low selling price that appeals to non-consumers), they would back away from the table, wave their hands, and say, “Oh, not that. We don’t want that.
  2. “How much are you willing to risk?”  If they’re willing to go to their boss to ask for resources, they’re willing to Stretch. If they’re willing to get fired, they’re willing to Splatter. If everything needs to stay within their signing authority, it’s all about staying Safe.
  3. “What would you need to see to risk more?”  As an innovator, you’ll always want more freedom to push boundaries and feel confident that you can convince others to see things your way. But before you pitch Stretch to a boss that wants Safe, or Splatter to a boss barely willing to Stretch, learn what they need to change their minds. Maybe it will be worth your effort, maybe it won’t. Better to know sooner rather than later.

Image credits: Pixabay

Subscribe to Human-Centered Change & Innovation WeeklySign up here to join 17,000+ leaders getting Human-Centered Change & Innovation Weekly delivered to their inbox every week.

How Networks Power Transformation

How Networks Power Transformation

GUEST POST from Greg Satell

In February 2004, Viacom announced that it would spin off Blockbuster Video into its own independent company, which gave its CEO, John Antioco, the opportunity to begin addressing the disruptive threat emanating from Netflix head on. He developed a viable strategy, executed it well, but in the end his efforts were for naught.

Around the same time General Stanley McChrystal was tapped to take command of Special Forces in Iraq. Much like Antioco and Blockbuster, he faced a disruptive threat in the form of Al Qaeda that, using unconventional tactics, threatened to thwart his efforts. Unlike Antioco, however, McChrystal succeeded brilliantly.

We tend to think about transformation in terms of strategy and tactics, but if that was all there was to it, Blockbuster would still be thriving today. As I explain in Cascades, the difference between Antioco and McChrystal wasn’t that one had a good plan and the other didn’t, but that McChrystal saw that he had to rewire the networks in his organization.

Why Blockbuster Really Failed

Today, Blockbuster is a cautionary tale, but for all the wrong reasons. When the spinoff was announced, Antioco moved quickly to build an online rental business and remove the late fees that so many found annoying. Later, in 2006, he created the Total Access program that allowed customers rent DVDs online and return them in stores.

The convenience of the Total Access program was something that Netflix couldn’t match and almost immediately Blockbuster began to surpass Netflix in adding new subscribers. Yet within a few months, a compensation dispute arose between Antioco and the corporate raider Carl Icahn, who had gotten control of the company. Antioco left, the new CEO reversed the strategy and Blockbuster declared bankruptcy in 2010.

The tensions had actually been building for some time. Antioco’s shift to the online business made franchisees, many of whom had their life’s savings tied up in Blockbuster stores, uneasy. The changes were also costly, which depressed earnings and made investors and analysts skeptical. The stock price cratered.

It was the low stock price that led Icahn to buy up stock in Blockbuster, a proxy fight that allowed him to take control of the company’s board, the compensation dispute, Antioco’s departure and the reversal of the strategy. What really killed Blockbuster wasn’t external competition, but internal opposition.

Addressing The Internal Struggle

While Antioco framed the challenge Blockbuster faced largely in terms of strategy and tactics, McChrystal saw his task as an internal struggle. His forces were among the best in the world and were winning every battle. Yet somehow, they were losing the war and losing it badly.

As McChrystal would later write, “the world had outpaced us. In the time it took us to move a plan from creation to approval, the battlefield for which the plan had been devised would have changed. By the time it had been implemented, the plan—however ingenious in its initial design—was often irrelevant.”

So instead of trying to come up with better plans, McChrystal sought to change how his organization functioned. The problem, as he saw it, was one of interoperability. His forces needed not only to work with each other, but also partner agencies and other stakeholders, in order to succeed.

“I needed to shift my focus from moving pieces on the board to shaping the ecosystem,” McChrystal would remember. The moves paid off. The tide of the war soon shifted and the forces under his command would achieve their major objectives.

Rewiring Networks

The main difference between Antioco and McChrystal had less to do with their actions than it did with their mindsets. Where Antioco saw his task in terms of planning and execution, McChrystal saw his in terms of connection. “We began to make progress when we started looking at these relationships as just that: relationships— parts of a network, not cogs in a machine or outputs and inputs,” he would later write.

Antioco would take a very different approach. He set up the Blockbuster Online team in a warehouse down the street its Dallas headquarters. That allowed him to pursue the online strategy with little disruption to operations in the core business, but it also allowed suspicion and fear to fester and grow.

McChrystal, on the other hand, moved to forge links anywhere he could. He started embedding intelligence analysts into commando teams and vice versa. Liaison officer positions, traditionally given to marginal performers or those nearing retirement, were now earmarked for the very best operators.

Moves like these slowed down the individual teams — commandos in business suits placed at embassies don’t kill many terrorists — but that wasn’t the point, building networks of trust and interoperability was. Over the next few years, the effectiveness of his organization improved markedly and overall operating efficiency improved by a factor of seventeen.

Rethinking Leadership For A Networked Age

To a large degree, the most important difference between Antioco and McChrystal was how they saw their role as leaders. Antioco was truly a brilliant strategist and had built an enormously successful career devising effective plans and driving efficient execution. He had encountered opposition before, but had always been able to prevail by showing results.

McChrystal came to see things differently. “I began to reconsider the nature of my role as a leader,” he would later write. “The wait for my approval was not resulting in any better decisions, and our priority should be reaching the best possible decision that could be made in a time frame that allowed it to be relevant.

In other words, where Antioco saw a vertical hierarchy for carrying out tasks efficiently, McChrystal saw a horizontal network of connections which needed to be cultivated. Where Antioco built a strong senior management team to drive his strategy, McChrystal forged shared values throughout his organization so that units could act independently.

The truth is that we need to reimagine leadership for a networked age to focus less on driving strategy and tactics and more on widening and deepening connections in networks. Or, as McChrystal put it, “The role of the senior leader was no longer that of a controlling puppet master, but that of an empathetic crafter of culture.

— Article courtesy of the Digital Tonto blog
— Image credit: Pixabay

Subscribe to Human-Centered Change & Innovation WeeklySign up here to join 17,000+ leaders getting Human-Centered Change & Innovation Weekly delivered to their inbox every week.