Outcome-Driven Change (ODC)

Outcome-Driven Change (ODC)

When it comes to business, many people would say it is outcomes that truly matter, especially investors on wall street. Investors don’t care what kind of software you’re running or what your stack looks like, or how you do what you do, as long as you deliver the financial outcomes they are looking for in order to earn a return on their investment.

Doctors also focus on outcomes and insurance companies are becoming obsessed with them, forcing doctors and customers into Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs). In healthcare, the outcomes obsession is called Outcomes-Based Management or Outcomes-Based Healthcare. In education, the outcomes obsession has led to an obsession with standardized testing and a practice called Outcomes-Based Education (OBE).

And in the innovation space, Tony Ulwick and Strategyn created Outcomes-Driven Innovation (ODI). In the innovation space this approach can be very beneficial as it helps companies move away from asking questions like “What can this technology do?” to questions that create better outcomes and more value, questions like “What is the customer trying to do?” or “What is the job to be done (JTBD)?”

Whether it is healthcare, education, business, or innovation, a focus on outcomes can be very helpful, but in these contexts we are looking at managing to a certain set of outcomes, or improving a certain set of outcomes, at a fixed point in time.

In the area of organizational change however, the focus often is not on outcomes, but on behaviors. Far too much of the literature and practice focuses on behavior change, which could also be described as “what people do.” And this focus on behaviors instead of aligning thoughts, feelings, behaviors and outcomes is part of why up to 70% of change efforts fail.

Too many people are jumping in head first and not approaching organizational change holistically, having the tough conversations around not only around how behaviors (doing) need to change but also how the how the outcomes need to change, along with how people’s thoughts and feelings need to change.

And when it comes to organizational change, we are not trying to achieve a certain set of outcomes or optimize a certain set of outcomes, but instead to ascertain what the relevant outcomes are in the current state and what we want them to become in the future state.

To help change leaders work though these incredibly necessary conversations and to help change managers achieve alignment within the organization around how all four components need to change (outcomes, thinking, feeling, doing) as part of a planned and coordinated effort, I have created the Outcome-Driven Change (ODC) Framework and worksheet to add to the Change Planning Toolkit™ v7 for existing subscribers and new subscribers alike.

Change is Possible

Thinking, feeling, doing…

People have been linking these terms together since at least 1895 when E.W. Scripture released an interesting book titled Thinking, Feeling, Doing on how scientists conduct research affecting these three parts of our humanity. Many people have added to the conversation since then speaking about how we are of three minds (Merriam-Webster dictionary definitions below), which are the:

1. Cognitive

Of, relating to, being, or involving conscious intellectual activity (such as thinking, reasoning, or remembering)

2. Affective

Relating to, arising from, or influencing feelings or emotions

3. Conative

An inclination (such as an instinct, a drive, a wish, or a craving) to act purposefully

Not coincidentally, these match up with the three domains of learning, defined as early as 1956 by educational psychologist Benjamin Bloom.

Others like to ascribe these three elements of humanity into Mind, Body, and Soul.

The key thing to remember from all of this discussion is that we are speaking about three very distinct things:

  1. Thinking
  2. Feeling
  3. Doing

IT IS possible, and happens with surprising frequency, that all three are not in agreement when you are dealing with human beings. Which the obvious truth of course is that in any change effort, or project for that matter, you are. People are fully capable of thinking one thing, feeling another, and end up doing something totally incongruent with either OR both whatever they are thinking and feeling. Confused yet?

Author F. Scott Fitzgerald once famously said:

“The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.”

This is one reason why change of any kind, organizational or personal, is so hard. Because, in order to be successful you must achieve alignment between all three elements of human reaction to the change in order to achieve the outcomes you seek.

Hopefully I’ve captured all of this in this single image of the Outcome-Driven Change Framework and this single quote from it:

“When what people do aligns with what they think and feel, then and only then, will you achieve the outcomes you’re looking for.”

Outcome-Driven Change Framework by Braden Kelley

In the Change Planning Toolkit™ v7 paying subscribers will find 11″x17″versions of this framework and the Outcome-Driven Change™ Worksheet to help your change planning team guide the conversations with change leaders that will help you surface the outcomes you’re currently achieving and what people in the organization are thinking, feeling, and doing to create the current outcomes and what members of the organization will need to think, feel, and do in order to achieve the new set of outcomes that you determine are necessary for the change to be successful.

People purchasing a commercial license and organizations or governments purchasing a site license or city/state/country license will get access to a poster size version (35″x56″) of the Outcome-Driven Change Worksheet.

This is just a taste of the kinds of frameworks, worksheets, and other tools you will find in the Change Planning Toolkit™ that I introduced in my latest book Charting Change along with a lot of great case studies and other next practices shared by some of the leading minds in the areas of organizational change and innovation.

So what are you waiting for?

  1. Get started using the Outcome-Driven Change Framework to spark dialogue among your change planning and leadership teams
  2. Download the 10 free tools from the Change Planning Toolkit™
  3. Grab your copy of Charting Change and get access to even more tools for free from the Change Planning Toolkit™ (including the Change Planning Canvas™)
  4. And then when you’re ready, get a license to all the rest of the 50+ frameworks, worksheets and other tools, and beat the 70% change failure rate!

Still have questions about how the Change Planning Toolkit™ can help your organization get better at change?

Then please contact me!

Or check out the Introduction to the Change Planning Toolkit™ webinar below:

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Send Me Your Questions About Change or Digital Transformation

Send Me Your Questions About Change or Digital Transformation

I’m planning on recording a webinar in the next couple of days titled An Introduction to the Change Planning Toolkit™ and before I do I would throw out an open call for questions:

  1. What have you always been curious about when it comes to organizational change?
  2. Where do you get stuck when it comes to achieving successful organizational change, adoption, or project completion?
  3. What do you think should be in the Change Planning Toolkit™?
  4. What have you always been curious about when it comes to the Change Planning Toolkit™ and how it helps you beat the 70% change failure rate?
  5. What have you always been curious about when it comes to digital transformation?

So, let me know what questions you have related to any of these five questions by Midnight (PDT) on Monday, April 9, 2018 in Seattle, WA (GMT -8:00) and I will do my best to answer them when I record the webinar.

Click here to send me your questions

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Building an Innovation and Insights Group from Scratch

Building an Innovation and Insights Group from Scratch

Many of you reading this have created or operated innovation or insights programs for organizations of a variety of sizes, or are curious about how to go about it.

Operating an innovation program or leading an insights group is definitely much different than creating one. In some ways it is easier, because things are already in place, but inheriting processes and expectations different than your preferences can also make things more difficult.

The folks at Aperio Insights are conducting research for a large utility company doing business in several states in the United States with a focus on electricity, natural gas, renewables, and ancillary services. Their research project is looking for a variety of perspectives from practitioners with experience in setting up a more formal and centralized innovation program or insights program (or ideally both), from scratch, where ad hoc and informal efforts occurred previously.

They’re looking for people who have been there and done that, tripped over the unseen obstacles in the dark, stubbed their toes, and are willing to share their perspectives on what they wished they had never done in setting up an innovation and insights program and what they would definitely do again.

OR, if you’ve inherited leadership of an existing innovation and insights program and were magically given the opportunity to start over and set it up from scratch, how would you go about it?

To jump start the thinking of those who get paid for your advice, let’s look at what a hand-picked group of guest experts have to say on the subject:

The Tony Ulwick Perspective:

Tony UlwickWe have worked with Fortune 500 companies and other organizations over the past 26 years deploying Outcome-Driven Innovation (ODI), a proven innovation process with an 86 percent success rate. From my perspective, there are 5 major barriers companies must overcome before replacing luck with predictable innovation.

Across an organization, key managers and stakeholders must:

  1. Recognize that innovation is a process.
  2. Stop executing the innovation process backwards.
  3. Stop cobbling together incompatible innovation tools and methods.
  4. Budget the time and money needed to execute the process correctly.
  5. Recognize that new market research methods are required.

— Tony Ulwick, Strategyn founder and creator of the Jobs to be Done methodology (free pdf)

The Stephen Shapiro Perspective:

Stephen ShapiroIn setting up an innovation and insights group from scratch, first want to define how you define success. What does this group hope to achieve? What issues is it addressing? What are the barriers to success?

This should drive all of the other decisions you make. Next, I would look at the process you use. The goal of any innovation group is to move from an ad hoc approach to one that is repeatable and predictable. Although most companies start with an idea-driven approach (which is ad hoc by its very nature), I encourage something I call “Challenge-Centered Innovation(TM)” Instead of asking for suggestions, ask for solutions to well-framed, important, and differentiating challenges. This fits in nicely with an insights-driven approach which looks for wants and needs in the marketplace and looks to develop solutions to address those. Beyond measures and process, one item you need to quickly address the organization model.

In general, you want a very small, centralized innovation team that helps defines the standards (e.g., measures, process, technology, etc). But the real work is pushed into the various businesses with only support from this team. Innovation should never be the domain of one group; rather it should be done where the money resides in the business. Although some capabilities can be centralized (e.g., market research), the ultimate decisions on how to use that information needs to be determined by the business. Of course there is no one-size-fits-all strategy for this and it needs to be tailored to your specific culture and needs.

— Stephen Shapiro, Speaker Hall of Fame Member and Author of Best Practices Are Stupid

The Geoff Tuff Perspective:

Geoff TuffMany corporate innovation leaders don’t have the luxury of starting an innovation and insights function “from scratch” as they’re often saddled with the inspiring (?) vision of a senior leader, a mandate to make use of resources who don’t fit in elsewhere, or the herculean task of filling a gap in a company’s growth plan which has few degrees of freedom to actually go and try something new. So on the rare occasions when this is the starting place, here are the top five things I consider strong precursors of success:

  1. Have a crystal-clear sense for your level of ambition for the group: do you exist to advance to core business, to stretch it into adjacent spaces, to disrupt its business model, so some combination of all three? And if some combination, what proportion of your time and efforts will you spend on each?
  2. Develop clear operating procedures, rights and responsibilities relative to the rest of the company, especially regarding funding and what happens to innovation initiatives when they get to various stages of development.
  3. Start with a clean playing field and, as I write about in my forthcoming book Detonate, ignore the playbooks that have made the rest of the company successful.
  4. Focus on building complementary and nontraditional sources of insight such as ethnography that will supplement but not replace the insight machine of the rest of the company.
  5. Focus on driving economic value as quickly as possible and trumpeting it when you achieve it; a few quick, high-profile wins can help broaden your playing field and deepen your funding.

— Geoff Tuff, Deloitte principal and senior leader of the Doblin practice. Author of Detonate coming May 8 (pdf)

The Braden Kelley Perspective:

Braden KelleyIt doesn’t matter whether your organization is B2B, B2C, a charity, a government entity, or all four. Every innovation and insights organization must begin with their customers in mind, and make sure that they have the buy-in of key internal organizations (their customers in this context) to pick up their outputs and turn them into new or renewed product and/or service offerings. Unless the rest of the organization converts your ideas into new sources of value for the organization or utilizes them to increase existing sources of value, then eventually your group will become the victim of budget cuts.

Equally important is the creation of a common language of innovation. This includes the creation of a definition of “innovation” for the organization, along with an innovation vision, strategy, and goals. But for it to be sustainable you must also address funding, staffing, metrics, communications, training, portfolio management, and have a clearly defined and visualized innovation process. My Infinite Innovation Infrastructure integrates all of this together:

Infinite Innovation Infrastructure

You will notice I’ve integrated my Nine Innovation Roles methodology from Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire into the Infinite Innovation Infrastructure because it is not whether any particular individual is innovative or not, but instead, everyone has a role to play in innovation.

Finally, innovation and insights in this context are very different, but yet complementary. Insights professionals typically focus on the uncovering new understandings at the intersection between customers and existing products and services, where innovation professionals are focused on uncovering new understandings about customers (and non-customers) that usually DO NOT link to existing products and services. Blending an optimization mindset with a creation mindset in the same organization can be a great challenge, and identifying where to keep things separate and where to create intentional overlap will be a balancing act as well.

— Braden Kelley, Keynote Speaker and Author of Charting Change and Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire

The Scott Anthony Perspective:

Scott AnthonyThe most critical thing the leader of a new insight and innovation group needs to consider in order to be successful is stakeholder expectations. Are stakeholders seeking insights and innovations that improve today’s business? Are they hoping to go build exciting new disruptive ventures? Or are they trying to create a more enabling culture of innovation? Those are distinctly different mandates, and a lack of clarity can lead a new leader to move in the wrong direction.

Embedded in this area is my second key success factor: understanding how leaders define innovation. At some companies innovation is broad, covering everything from day-to-day advancements to more disruptive approaches; other companies mean it to only mean the bigger, bolder stuff. Of course, we have both a broad general definition of innovation (“something different that creates value”) and specific categories of innovation. But without common definitions, it is easy for an insights and innovation leader to miss the mark.

That leads then to the third and final point: knowing the specific problems that innovation should solve. One of the mistakes people make is they think innovation should be unbounded, and that a good leader lets hundreds of flowers bloom. I’ve never seen that work; letting hundreds of flowers bloom leads to a lot of undernourished flowers. Focus is the innovator’s friend. Identifying the specific problems to solve, such as improved employee engagement, higher customer retention, experimenting with a new technology, or winning in a particular customer segment, improves the ability to innovate for impact.

— Scott Anthony, Innosight Managing Director and author of Dual Transformation (mini pdf)

Now It’s Your Turn to Share

So innovation and insight practitioners, now that you’ve heard some inspiration from five carefully selected thought leaders, it’s your turn to jump into the tactical details and share your thoughts with researchers about HOW you would build a successful innovation and insights program from a blank canvas.

But wait!

It gets better, not only will you be able to help fellow innovation and insights practitioners get their program started on the right foot, but people accepted into the research program will be PAID $250 for an hour of their brainpower.

Aperio Insights are interviewing experienced client-side innovation and research leaders to help gather ideas on how to setup an effective consumers insights and innovation team, including tactical things like how to inform the rest of the organization that this function is now in place and how to prioritize the objectives of diverse departments.

They’re looking for a mix of B2B and B2C client-side innovation and marketing research leaders for 60-minute one-on-one webcam interviews.

  • Each study participant will receive a generous honorarium $250 (Amazon e-gift card or PayPal) as a token of our appreciation
  • Not looking for your corporate secrets, just your advice and opinion
  • Evening and weekend times are available for your convenience
  • Study participants will be kept anonymous

Click here to sign up

Insights and Innovation Study

Image credit: spanishdict.com

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Accelerate Your 2018 Commitments and Start the Year Strong

Accelerate Your 2018 Commitments and Start the Year Strong

As 2018 picks up speed, perhaps you are a manager or leader with a project that you are responsible for finishing before the end of the first or second quarter. Why not get an MBA-qualified resource to help you complete the work?

I have a good network of highly skilled individuals and could find you a talented resource that can jump right in to almost any situation, get up to speed quickly and accelerate your 2018 commitments.

Or, perhaps I might be able to jump in and help out…

Whether you need part-time help or a full-time resource to help you close out a project before the end of the first or second quarter, please contact me, and let’s see if we can satisfy your resource needs, including specialties like:

  • Presentation creation
  • Help crafting a thought leadership piece you committed to
  • Executive communications
  • Marketing communications
  • Project management
  • Program management
  • Marketing strategy
  • Online marketing execution
  • Social media or community management
  • Training delivery or course creation
  • Workshop facilitation or assistance with workshops

Click here to get some extra help now

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Make Money using the Change Planning Toolkit™

Want to achieve faster and more effective change on a grand scale?

I am super excited to announce that you can now can get a Commercial License directly on this web site or through a certified Change Planning Toolkit™ practitioner to increase the success of the projects or change initiatives inside your company or to make money doing so for your clients. There are two simple options:

Change Planning Toolkit Commercial License Option 1Change Planning Toolkit Commercial License SpacerChange Planning Toolkit Commercial License Option 2

Either option is a bargain considering the prices of other tools, training and reports:

  • $150/year per person – Cost of Skillsoft business skills courses
  • $279/year per person – Cost of MarketingProfs subscription
  • $350-400 per download per person – ProSci downloads
  • $400-1,000 per hour – What top consultants charge for an hour of advice
  • $975/year per person – Cost of Being First change leadership tools
  • ~$20,000/year per person – Forrester license cost
  • $20-30,000/year per person – Gartner license cost

So either Change Planning Toolkit™ commercial licensing option is a lower cost investment for a complete toolkit of more powerful tools for planning and executing projects, change initiatives, and digital transformations, than any of the above alternatives.


Get a Free* Change Planning Toolkit Site LicenseI believe so much in the power of the Change Planning Toolkit™ that I am willing to offer a free* site license to the next three (3) firms to purchase a Change Planning Toolkit™ training session (which includes train-the-trainer).

For large companies like IBM, Accenture, Amazon, GE, Wells Fargo, Cognizant, HP Enterprise, Convergys, Oracle, or Microsoft, a free* site license represents a savings of up to $830,000 on tools with a value of nearly $500 million for a nominal investment in one day of training.

Book a Training Session and get a free* site license

Learning how to use the Change Planning Toolkit™ will create great opportunities for:

  • Organizations to build a continuous change capability
  • Consulting companies to increase revenue while achieving better client outcomes
  • Education companies to build new organizational change course offerings

Organizations purchasing a Commercial License will get access to a broad range of benefits for the agreed number of users, including:

  1. Access to all 50+ tools in the Change Planning Toolkit™
  2. Access to the QuickStart Guide to help people understand how to use each tool
  3. Access to poster size (35″x56″) versions of key tools, including the Change Planning Canvas™, Visual Project Charter™, and more
  4. Free access to thought leadership articles and a weekly email newsletter
  5. Gold Upgrade Option in the future – when eLearning becomes available
  6. Special discounts on public and private events
  7. Revenue earning potential on sales of site licenses to any other organizations
  8. Opportunity to get advance access to the Disruptive Innovation Toolkit™ by becoming a Patron

Choose one of two simple options and get started:

Change Planning Toolkit Commercial License Option 1Change Planning Toolkit Commercial License SpacerChange Planning Toolkit Commercial License Option 2

To maximize the availability and benefits, a commercial site license is designed to provide access to ALL of your employees, or you can purchase a regular commercial license for one or more named users.

Contact me now to purchase your site license or
purchase a commercial license for one or more users here on the web site.

* The site license is free for the first year. After 365 days it can be renewed for a very affordable $2/employee per year. Each employee gets access to tools that other companies might charge up to $20,000 for a single user to access.

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Rise of the Green Goblin?

Rise of the Green Goblin?

For those of you out there who are comic book aficionados, you might be familiar with a super villain from the Spiderman series called the Green Goblin. One of the trademarks of the Green Goblin in addition to hand grenades that he liked to throw at people was a personal flying machine that he stood on and zoomed around the city.

Recently I came across a flying machine designed by a man from a France that very much realizes the promise of the flying machine utilized by the Green Goblin in the comic strip. The Frenchman has been hard at work on this flying machine for at least a couple of years. His name is Franky Zapata and he is a jet ski racer turned inventor.

He first started experimenting with a board that used water under pressure to elevate itself above the surface of the water (kind of building on the concept of the Jet Ski) and then decided to swap out the water being forced downwards for air forced being forced downwards with four jet turbines. He debuted an early prototype on France’s Got Talent a couple of years ago, which you can see here:

This tethered prototype quickly gave way to an untethered prototype you can see here:

He has since evolved his prototypes to make them easier to ride, with more redundancy, and thus potentially more consumer friendly, which you can see here:

And finally you can see Franky Zapata talking about the Flyboard Air here:

Lots of legal and regulatory hurdles before it is ready for prime time, but it sure looks like fun!

So what do you think, innovation or not?

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What’s Your Innovation Story?

What's Your Innovation Story?

Many, but not all, innovations involve some kind of technology, and start as an invention. Many of these technology-based inventions that may eventually become innovations are created by startups, but many are created inside large companies as well. In both cases, these technology-based potential innovations are often created by engineers or technologists that are well-versed in the problems they are solving to make the technology work, but not always with the problems that the technology may solve for customers. Often the inventors speak the languages of science and technology, which is not always the same language as that understood by the potential customers for their invention that they hope will become an innovation.

As I wrote before in the always popular, and often linked and liked – Innovation is All About Value – there are three keys to achieving a successful transition from invention to innovation:

1. Value Creation

Value Creation is pretty self-explanatory. Your innovation investment must create novel or incremental value large enough to overcome the switching costs of moving to your new solution from the old solution (including the ‘Do Nothing Solution’). New value can be created by making something more efficient or effective, possible that wasn’t possible before, or by creating new psychological or emotional benefits. This creation of new value is what most people focus on, but you can’t achieve innovation without achieving success in the next two components as well.

2. Value Access

Value Access can also be thought of as friction reduction or experience design. How easy do you make it for customers and consumers to access the value you’ve created? How well has the product or service (or the experience of using it) been designed to allow people to access the value easily? How easy is it for the solution to be created? What is the employee experience like? How easy is it for people to do business with you?

These are some of the questions you must ask and answer as you seek to create success in the value access component of innovation.

3. Value Translation

Value Translation is all about helping people understand the value you’ve created and how it fits into their lives. Value translation is also about understanding where on a continuum your solution falls between the need for explanation and education. Incremental innovations can usually just be explained to people because they anchor to something they already understand, but radical or disruptive innovations inevitably require some level of education (often far in advance of the launch).

Done really well, value translation also helps to communicate how easy it will be for customers and consumers to exchange their old solution for the new solution.

Unfortunately, not all three parts of innovation success are equally understood or valued.

Most people understand that the creation of new value (aka value creation) is a key component of innovation success.

Many people understand the concept of barriers to adoption and that value access is thus also a key component to whether or not an invention successfully makes the transformation into an innovation.

BUT, few understand that value translation is probably the most critical component to innovation success. Because value translation inevitably requires both explanation AND education in varying amounts, having a good Evangelist (see The Nine Innovation Roles) that is a gifted storyteller on your innovation team will prove crucial to your innovation success. If people don’t understand how your new solution fits into their lives and why they should abandon their old solution, even if it is the ‘do nothing’ solution, then you stand no chance of your invention becoming an innovation.

And what’s the difference between an invention and an innovation? Wide adoption…

Achieving wide adoption comes not from some catchy advertising campaign, but from creating ridiculous amounts of value in the solution itself, the way that people access the solution (or the experience that they have), and in the story you create around it.

The Role of Experience in Your Innovation Story

Many true innovations create an experience that someone wasn’t able to have before, or take a painful experience and turn it into a delightful one. The automatic transmission liberated millions of people from the struggle of successfully starting a car on a hill and the worry of grinding their gears every time they go to shift gears.

How does using your potential innovation make people feel?

What is the experience like?

Where is the experience awkward or full of friction?

Could it be better?

Experience design has become increasing important because a good or bad user experience, customer experience, or employee experience creates stories, stories that get shared, stories that sometimes take on a life of their own. This is what happens when something goes viral. Sharing of the story itself becomes a new story, meaning that people are now sharing two stories (the original story, and a new story about the sharing of the original story). The power of these shared stories is why the various fields of experience design are growing both in terms of visibility and the numbers of people employed in these kinds of roles (customer experience, customer success, user experience, human-centered design, etc.).

When it comes to innovation, experience and design matter.

Bringing It All Together

Crafting a compelling innovation story requires both a compelling value proposition and a memorable experience. When you have both, your innovation story will be more engaging, easier to tell, and more likely to be shared.

Your innovation story also requires the same type of design thinking process to achieve. You must:

  1. Understand who your audience is
  2. Define what they will find convincing about the value proposition and the experience that your innovation will create
  3. Come up with ideas on how you will tell your innovation story (including the appropriate level of explanation vs. education)
  4. Choose one and prototype your innovation story
  5. Test it with people
  6. And iterate until you find that your innovation story (as well as your potential innovation) is resonating strongly with your target customers

So, plan ahead. Design your innovation story at the same time you’re designing a compelling innovation value proposition and innovation experience. Think about what people will say about your potential innovation as they begin using it. Show it to people and ask them for feedback about your potential innovation. Craft an explanation for it, build an education plan, and test both. Take all of what you learn from asking and testing these things to begin crafting your innovation story, while also refining the design of the product or service, and the experience of using it, to make both more compelling. In doing so, at the same time you’ll also make help your innovation story that much more powerful, and increase your chances of achieving innovation success!

If you need help telling your innovation story, I can help you on the tactical side (commissioned articles, white papers, webinars, collateral, keynotes, workshops, etc.) or by building you a complete innovation evangelism strategy (for an external audience, an internal one, or both). Click here to contact me.

This article originally appeared on CIO.com

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Keeping Your Best Friend Safe

Every so often something comes along that is super funny, super cute, and super functional, all at the same time.

Check out the video below and then we’ll dive in to the innovation potential of The Rocketeer Pack by ZuGoPet.

I’m sorry, but I laugh every time I see this video, but at the same time I recognize that their solution is actually quite logical and practical.

I also have to laugh at the sizing guide, which suggests that you measure your dog in the “begging” position.

ZuGoPet Rocketeer Pack Dog on MotorcycleFor an extra bonus the harness for the car can also be used as a front pack, meaning you can now take little ChiChi out for a ride on your motorcycle when he gets tired of riding in the car.

My early reactions? A Great idea with okay execution. I think they may be able to improve the design to make it easier to use, and as a result increase adoption but then I’ve never actually used one so I’m just judging by the video.

I do have to say that the video did highlight that seatbelts for people are badly in need of a re-design. I have a design for a built-in four point seatbelt that automobile manufacturers or insurance companies are welcome to talk to me about if they’re interested in increasing passenger safety and decreasing injury claims.

So, what do you think? Innovation or not?

Image credit: zugopet.com

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Transform Your Business with a Change Success Manager

Transform Your Business with a Change Success Manager

“Stealing the role of customer success manager from the world of SaaS is the key to making your digital transformation efforts a success.”

I was speaking with a headhunter recently about some of the roles she was recruiting for and there was one that captured my attention. It was a posting she had for a customer success manager at one of your favorite three letter software companies. And, as she extolled the merits of the role I found myself thinking that the management practice of organizational change is still so immature. There are still so many missing tools and mindsets in the organizational behavior area of management science.

What I found so captivating about the responsibilities of a customer success manager, is that the kinds of tasks she described are exactly the kinds of activities that need to be performed as part of any organizational change effort. The difference is that software companies have recognized that they need to have people dedicated, ideally from the very beginning of the process, to help connect the cross-functional dots for the customer behind the scenes, actively manage expectations and outcomes, ensure a mutual understanding of what success looks like, and to make sure that it is ultimately achieved.

Technology companies everywhere seem to be racing to embrace the role of customer success manager as a new member of their army of service professionals. And, the customer success manager, above all else, strives to ensure that every customer moves beyond purchase, beyond installation, beyond first use, to productive use, deepening engagement, and the holy grail of retention and referral.

And retention is key in SaaS businesses because the churn rate (13% per year on adverage) is higher than other subscription type businesses (6-8% per year according to Recurly Research), but lower than the churn rate for some wireless carriers (which averages between 1-3% per month). Churn rate is a statistic measuring those customers who choose not to renew their service, or to switch their service to another subscription provider. A churned customer doesn’t write you a check for next year, or future years either.

The main reason SaaS customers churn, especially after their first year, is that the perceived value of the subscription is insufficient relative to the price to justify renewing it. They may have bought the software but didn’t install it, installed it but never really got up and running with it, or just found it too hard to get the value out of the software that they were promised. The old technology sales model didn’t care about these situations. Tech companies just focused on closing the sale, recognizing the revenue and moving on to close the next prospect. With the SaaS model, sales are no longer king, adoption and engagement are king. If the customer doesn’t adopt, engage and expand their footprint with your SaaS offering then it is easy for them to switch to an offering of a competitor.

So, if customer success managers are so instrumental to the success of technology companies in the era of the cloud, why shouldn’t they also be considered instrumental inside of our organizations as the key to successful change?

The problem is that too many organizations are still stuck in an upside-down paradigm where change management is seen as a bolt on to project management, instead of truly architecting our organizations for successful change.

Companies that want to be successful over the long term understand that change is not an event but a constant. They strategically select those capabilities and competencies needed for the next phase of their evolution, plan a portfolio of change initiatives that executes upon their strategy, and understand that change saturation and change readiness must always be considered. Companies that succeed in this era of unending change will constantly manage the expectations of their people around each change initiative and how the process will work and what the technology can and can’t do.

It is not surprising that companies would first embrace a role that adds tremendous value on the revenue generating side of the business first. Technology companies have determined customer success managers are critical to helping customer organizations adopt changes imposed by new technologies while ultimately increasing the lifetime value of each new customer. But for similar reasons internal to the organization, companies must also now embrace the need for a role I’d like to call the change success manager.

A change success manager is a change manager on steroids. However, in today’s business climate most people think of a change manager as the person a project manager brings in near the end of a software implementation project that does the training or communications. That may be how companies are doing the so-called people side of change today, but it is wrong!

This new role of change success manager is intended to lead each change initiative inside the organization from beginning to end. A change success manager is brought in at the beginning of the process to reach across the organization and identify a cross functional team specific to the needs of each change initiative for the purposes of convene as part of a change planning workshop. This change planning team will facilitate each change planning workshop using tools like the Change Planning Toolkit™ to identify the change leadership team that will take decisions and remove roadblocks for the change management team that will facilitate the actions necessary to advance the change initiative to its desired outcomes.

And, unlike the current model of change that many organizations follow, a change success manager will have one or more project managers on their change management team to identify the appropriate pace for the project, and the right size for the work packages, in order to maintain momentum across the entire duration of the change initiative and increase the adoption of internal change – just like a customer success manager increases the adoption of external changes!

This article originally appeared on CIO.com

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Wrap Up Those 2017 Loose Ends and Finish the Year Strong

Wrap Up Those 2017 Loose Ends and Finish the Year Strong

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