Innovation is often cloaked in some degree of mystery – a black box where “change happens” and the world is transformed. Success is often fleeting, and, when failure does occur, there is usually a multitude of views as to what went wrong, with the only commonality being “it was the other guy’s fault.”
Why is it that some inherently good ideas fail and some rather questionable ones seem to stay around forever?
Recently, Raghu Santanam posted in a Center for Services Leadership blog that innovation must take into consideration issues of consumer capability and consumer involvement. This resonated with me. Both of these issues speak to the need to have a customer-centric approach – trying to understand the situation from the perspective of the individual/organization undergoing the change. This does not negate the importance of the views of internal stakeholders, but it underscores the importance of willful and deliberate customer adoption of a new offering. I would like to build a little more on this theme.
I published a book a short while ago based on extensive consideration of existing research as well as examinations of successful and unsuccessful change initiatives. In the book, I laid out a number of fundamental elements that must be present in any successful change context. Let me cover three of the more critical factors here.