Managing Change & Innovation - Key to the Success of Individual & Organization

29 Nov 2017

Change might not necessarily bring innovation, but innovation surely brings change. When organizations and individuals, who take decision in an organization, understand the apparent difference between these two, they can quickly retool their entire process and channelize the work in an entirely new fashion; adapting to the evolving time and catering to the demands of stakeholdrs. 

Let us find more on how organizations and people who run them should manage change and innovation.

Types of organizational change

In many cases, everyone in the same organization may have different views of the same change. In many of the cases it becomes so complex that no one has true end-to-end view of actual change.

Organizational change is usually seen as a response to the internal or external conditions. However, the wisdom lies in managing change through forward thinking and structured plan rather than reactingto the challenges posed by the world.

Organization-wide change

This refers to a large-scale transformation that affects the entire organizational structure. This pinpoints to changing or innovating the nature of the business, including resizing, restricting or collaboration. This type of change, tend to be long-term; and if not planned properly, they can be highly disruptive. Major changes such as mergers & acquisitions are considered structural changes.

Transformational change 

A company must constantly evolve and keep attuned with the environment around. It should learn, and therefore change with time adapting with the cultural trends, understanding the social eco system, and keep abreast with the digital technologies. Transformational change is all about introducing high impact, socially viable and cultural changes that have long-standing affect on the corporate culture and therefore on your overall productivity.

Culture Change

Changes to the underlying principles, expectations, norms, working habits and symbols of an organization. This is the most talked about, difficult and yet most sought after change in the world. In my view culture represents and invisible, undocumented but most powerful system that largely determines priories and behavior of people in any organization.

Process change

Changes to business process and operational activities represent amongst the most common type of change. Many organizations have implemented continuous improvement programs that change processes on a regular basis. Processes also need to change to support new strategies or to leverage new technologies.

People change

This refers to mass layoffs or hiring in an organization. When an organization, for instance, hires a good number of new resources, it needs to handle the entire process very effectively - starting from defining in which roles does the new resources suit. If an organization is not defined about its process while laying-off or hiring new resources, it might end up bringing chaos.

Unplanned change

This type of change prompt companies to act within a limited time. Such change tends to be expensive, and often brings chaos. An unpredicted dramatic disruption in the market might prompt a company to suddenly shut down its existing operating model in an affected business area and then divert its entire resources in survival measures. This is an unplanned business changes might also derive out of government regulations and other factors including natural disasters.

Remedial change

Environment, product performance, and many other factors individually or collectively prompt companies to initiate remedial change. If a product, for example, is proven to be bad by the company or consumer, the company might then take prompt step to recall the product from market thereby introducing remedial change.

Benefits of change and innovation within an organizational structure

As an employer:

  • Enhanced employee engagement
  • Increased sustainability and long-standing impact
  • Increased return on your change investment

As an employee:

  • Enhanced involvement in the implementation of the change
  • Reduced stress and a greater sense of control
  • More flexibility in working

So, whichever role do you play - organizational benefits abound and vary from one place to the other; and being affected by certain core deciders; including governmental regulations, weather factors, competition etc, to name a few.

The core overall benefits of change and innovation within an organization

  • Enhanced productivity
  • Superior control over the process
  • Improved return out of investment
  • Channelized process
  • High-impact productivity
  • Coping up with the changing market and consumer behavior dynamics

Risks associated with change and innovation

Many risks await an organization when it resolves to bring change and innovation. Some of which include the following -

  • Resistance is the biggest challenge - Resources within your company are already well adapted with their existing situations, they might not respond well to change or eager to change with time. They might even fear of losing their jobs, if the change involves process automation or prompting employees learn an entirely new skill they could not ace. This is when organizations should bring down ambitions to manage change (Read managing change and innovation below).
  • Leadership- Strong leadership is essentially vital to introduce change. If a leadership is not defined about its work, and how to minimize chaos once a change is being implemented; it might spoil the entire objective of bringing change and innovation within an organization.
  • Disruption - Operational disruption is yet another challenge, which might crop up at the time, and during change. A small consulting company might only need to upgrade their existing software to bring innovation and change. However, a big or medium size company might face a lot of disruption when it comes to changing enterprise planning software of its own.

Training, planning and management are crucial components that collectively ensure true success of a change and innovation planning.

Poorly managed change brings an organization to its toes. Effectively managed change changes the fortune of an organization. But how to do it properly, with little effort and more impact? This is when the reference of change management comes –

Managing change and innovation

How to introduce change

The entire process of expecting bigger returns from change and innovation is to first draft a long-standing and holistic plan on it.

The entire change management plan needs to be implemented in bits. Never indulge in overflowing a process with lots of defined changes at once. Take some time and let change occurs naturally, and thus make it an understandable requisite for business growth rather than a norm. As discussed above, a process change and innovation might prompt resistance - active and passive. Therefore, you need to scale down ambitions, meaning you should stop implementing everything altogether, and start with small changes, and then slowly move to the large ones, thereby touching almost every changes in gradual order until the entire change plan is implemented.

How to sustain the change

This when strong leadership comes into play. A good leader takes care of the entire process - keeping him or her at the center - understanding the existing impact, learning how to make necessary changes when required, monitoring the employee reaction to the innovation, giving them pace for criticism and honoring their efforts coping up with change and giving them room and skills and training. Sustaining change is all about letting the change flow while addressing the challenges of the process.

How to measure impact

Employee feedback, market research, pinpointing growth factors, yielding outputs pre and post change management are all vital factors when it comes to measuring the impact. Any type of innovation and change takes time though.

Case in point

Nokia's transition from world leader in mobile telephony to networking equipment and back in the business of telephones but in a redefined avatar - they prove how change impact an organization, and if it is resolved to weather out the odds, innovation and far-sighted leadership can always take a company to places.


There are many other cases where organizations successfully implemented change so smartly that they yielded great values out of it.


Also see blogs on related topics on our website:


Sachin Kulkarni

Founder, Transit Partners


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