by William Golden

Change Management Is Key to Innovation

Mar 01, 20072 mins

How to deal with the difficulty of change.

Q: What is the most difficult aspect of your innovation process?

A: According to Robert Scott, VP of innovation and architecture, Global Business Services, the trickiest part of Procter & Gamble’s innovation process is the Launch step, when an IT innovation is “commercialized,” or adopted by customers. The challenge, as Scott sees it, is that “even if you develop something that’s good, people are slow to adopt new things.” IT, he says, must talk about what it’s done in such a way to excite users and compel them to change their behavior. Scott has tapped P&G’s own marketing experts and hired external firms to help him tell a better story about the innovations his organization is delivering.

Bayer North America CIO Claudio Abreu also sees change management as an important part of the innovation process. “Change is not easy; it takes a lot of commitment and leadership from the CIO,” he says. To make sure the innovation process is embraced, Abreu participates personally in innovation team meetings.

For Carolyn Byerly, CIO of Stanford Hospital & Clinics, the first phase of her innovation framework, Sense, was the hardest to define and develop, as it wasn’t a typical part of project management. (Here is a PDF of Byerly’s process grid.) In Sense, the IT team learns about stakeholder needs, conducts research, meets with vendors and so on. It’s not so much about generating ideas but about getting the knowledge that can create a vision from which an idea will follow.