The last days and weeks have been really exciting. The year started with the workshop on Be the Change in Helsinki (totally technology unrelated, check our presentation). Last Sunday, I delivered my keynote on Web 2.0 and Change, and - finally - I am twittering like hell. The idea of combining my Change Facilitation skills with my newly acquired knowledge about social media on the Web slowly comes together. It was good to see on the last workshop that people started to make use of the tools that enable us to stay in touch, record our observations in real time and provide the opportunity to check back later.
I am going to build on that in my next workshop, coming up in February, where we will combine exchange of experiences in supporting democracy in Asia with an introduction to large scale facilitation methods, mainly Open Space Technology and World Café with a self organized documentation using blogs, podcasts, videopodcasts, Twitter (of course!), arts, and maybe other media. Because usually there isn't much time for harvesting results in such workshops, we will have dedicated time slots of two hours each afternoon where editorial team will digest and organize the information.
I have been an advocate for self-organization and for observing emergent patterns in organizations for ten years, and the latest great discovery for me was actually Open Space Technology. At that time, we talked a lot about Open Space organizations, somehow captured and catalyzed by Dee Hock's book Birth of the Chaordic Age. This was also the time when I first read Kevin Kelly's book New Rules for The New Economy (1998). 1998? Jesus, time is really running, and Kevin's theses are as fresh and valid as they were 11 years ago. In the last two years, growing slowly into the Web community, I have met so many people who really believe that a better world is possible and who life from a position of abundance.
For those of you who think that my occupation with Web 2.0 is all of my professional life, let me tell you that this is just a tiny but growing bit. I earn my living as a facilitator and trainer in change processes. But I feel it is time to move forward: I felt this urge when I met Nancy White from Seattle, who switches between the virtual and real world with such a grace.
So, what is the future: more of both. Doing Open Space Facilitation and such stuff and integrating web communities in real whole systems change processes. I made the start with publishing a new website in German called Virtueller Wandel (that's Virtual Change). At the end, all of this goes back to the old dream of one of my teachers, Robert Dilts of Creating a World to Which People Want to Belong. In my small circle of influence I an happy if I can contribute to creating organizations to which people want to belong.
There are about two books to be written this year. One about a new change model that my friend Vesa Purokuru has developed and which we want to fill with life. One about Web 2.0 and Change. Heaven, where shall I take the time for that? I have a company to run and a wife to attend!
However, this all sounds like exciting time. Thanks all of you who have been and will be part of my journey.
Friday, January 30, 2009
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
On Sunday, I was the keynote speaker on the topic “The World- a SingleComputer – Web 2.0, Web 3.0, Web 4.0 and Change”. The audience were 170 German speaking change facilitators who meet annually to exchange and network. The tradition of the meeting calls for an input on the first day, and for an Open Space workshop on the second. So far, guest speaker presented new facilitation methods such as Max Schupbach who demonstrated his Worldwork concept in 2008.
Matthias zur Bonsen had the courage to invite me for a talk about a topic which was alien to many of the participants: how technology can support change processes. I basically gave an revised and translated version of my Atlanta speech from 2008, and I encouraged people to twitter and blog during the meeting.
In the weeks of preparation (yes, I prepared weeks for a two hours presentation), I had no clue about the level of knowledge and skills of the crowd. I live in two worlds – the world of facilitators who work with flesh and bones, real people in real time, and the world of Web 2.0 geeks who are part of the political and social revolution that is going on the Web. I tend to forget that the “real world facilitators” know little about Web 2.0, while many of the social dreamers in the Web know Open Space Technology (because they use it all the time and call it Bar Camp, or Social Camp). I thought it would be nice to polarize a bit to stir up some dust. So, I took the liberty to recite Stowe Boyd who said that social collaboration on the Web is the last hope for the world. I went so far to say that Web 2.0 is the continuation and the extension of Large Group Facilitation. I said that the Web is thoroughly democratic and will help to make better world. Besides, I said that some Web 2.0 technologies are handy for marketing and they can also be used for documentation of large workshops.
Soon after I started, there were two phenomena to observe:
1. About 20 of the participants started to twitter right away with their laptops and iPhones, and continued so throughout the workshop. If you understand German, read the tweeds from the start onwards - it gives a good overview on the flow of the conference.
2. A controversial discussion started about the good or evil character of modern technology. Hey, I enjoyed that (I like heated debates) but I was surprised that some people were more interested in that debate which you can have over a beer than going more deeper into exploring what is.
For those from outside Germany I need to explain something: Although we have the best engineers of the world and probably the most patent holders (and the best cars anyhow…), the generation which was born between 1950 and 1960, i.e. those who are now between 50 and 60 are critical or should I say cautious towards technology in general and to IT in particular. I am not (well, I don’t like nuclear power plants, and I think cars should be fuel efficient), so I always want to understand why people resist to technology. In this case, it was particularly interesting to understand why people who call themselves change facilitators seem to resist to innovation (as one other participant communicated via Twitter "I felt like being in a congress of conservatives.")
In the given case, these were the main lines of argument:
- web technology is rather used for control and manipulation than for grass-roots democracy,
- our kids are deprived and not able to create social relationships because of mobile communication technologies,
- computers and cell phones are causing electro smog and consequently cancer,
- in a meeting, use of technological devices distracts and destroys relationships.
And there were the two worlds: the early adaptors who created their description of the meeting in real time (I was excited about the tweeds going back and forth), and those who preferred to talk about the risks of technology. It was good to have this discussion and the feedback to my input was overwhelming.
Fair enough. Looking at the Max-Neef model of human needs, I would interpret the needs showed as needs for protection, understanding and leisure.
This for a first start of the dicussion. Here is my presentation:
Friday, January 23, 2009
Sie sind herzlich eingeladen, an einer vierteiligen Webinarreihe zum Thema Web 2.0 im Business teilzunehmen. Die Teilnahme ist am ersten Webinar ist kostenfrei; Sie gehen keine Verpflichtungen ein.
Zielgruppe: Entscheider in Unternehmen und Non-Profit Organisationen, die neue Medien in Ihrer Kommunikation einsetzen wollen. Berater, Trainer und andere Anbieter von Dienstleistungen, die durch einen hohen Kommunikationsbedarf gekennzeichnet sind. Begleiter von und Akteure in Veränderungsprozessen.
Dies sind die Themen:
Webinar 1 (27.2.2009, 17-18.30 Uhr MEZ): Wie soziale Medien die Geschäftswelt verändern.
Die neuen sozialen Medien haben in den letzten Jahren eine zweite Internetrevolution ausgelöst. Produktion, Kundenservice, Design, Forschung & Entwicklung und viele andere zentrale Unternehmensfunktionen werden zunehmend ins Internet verlagert. Gleichzeitig wachsen die Möglichkeiten von Bürgerbeteiligung in politischen Prozessen. Im ersten Webinar unserer Reihe werden eine Vielzahl von Beispielen aufgezeigt werden, wie soziale Medien in der Organisationsentwicklung und in der Kommunikation mit Stakeholdern eingesetzt werden. Ist Web 2.0 nur ein Hype? Muss man da mitmachen? Welche Vorteile kann mein Business / meine Organisation davon haben, sich im sozialen Netz zu engagieren? Kann Web 2.0 die Welt verändern (und die Art, wie wir arbeiten und leben)?
Webinar 2 (6.3.2009, 17-18.30 Uhr MEZ): Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, Slideshows etc. - Wie Sie mit Ihren Kunden in Dialog treten können
So, wie es vor 10 Jahren hieß, keine Organisation kann es sich leisten, keine Webseite zu haben, gilt heute: Keine Organisation kann es sich leisten, nicht in Interaktion mit ihren Stakeholdern zu treten. Viele Unternehmen nutzen bereits solche Tools. In diesem Webinar werden Sie lernen, welche Tools die richtigen für Sie sind und wie Sie den Einstieg schaffen. Wenn Sie bereits solche Tools nutzen, werden Sie praktische Tipps für die Optimierung Ihrer Strategie erhalten. Wie und wo blogge ich am besten? Was sind Tags und wozu sind sie nutze? Was ist Folksonomy? Ist ein Wiki für meine interne oder externe Kommunikation geeignet? Wie verbessere ich die Attraktivität meines Blogs? Macht es Sinn, Videos und Audiodateien ins Netz zustellen? Wie binde ich diese in Blogs ein? Was sind Mash-Ups und Widgets? Wie ist das überhaupt mit dem Copyright?
Webinar 3 (13.3.2009, 17-18.30 Uhr MEZ): Twitter - eine neue Technologie revolutioniert das Web
Twitter ist eine der letzten großen Neuentwicklungen des Webs. Der Microbloggingdienst erlaubt es, Netzwerke aufzubauen, direkt und schnell zu Themen zu diskutieren und kurze Informationen weiterzuleiten. Twitter wird bereits von vielen Organisationen eingesetzt. In diesem Webinar lernen Sie, wie Sie Twitter für sich und die Kommunikation mit Partnern, Gleichgesinnten und Kunden nutzbar machen können. Welche Werkzeuge gibt es, deren Einsatz zur Verbesserung der Twiiter-Performance Sinn macht? Muss Twitter wirklich sein?
Webinar 4 (20.3.2009, 17-18.30 Uhr MEZ): Netzwerken und Nettiquette
Im letzten Webinar der Reihe lernen Sie, wie sich durch verantwortungsvolles und passioniertes Handeln neue Partnerschaften ergeben. Die Möglichkeiten, sich mit Kunden, Gleichgesinnten Meinungsführern zu verbinden und selbst Meinungsführer in einem bestimmten Thema zu werden, sind vielfältig. Was sind die grundlegenden Regeln und Mechanismen hierfür? Wie nutze ich RSS-Feeds um effizient der Datenflut gerecht zu werden? Welche anderen Netzwerke wie Facebood, LinkedIn, Xing, etc. sollte ich nutzen?
Bei Bedarf wird die Reihe fortgesetzt. In jedem der Webinars werden natürlich Ihre offenen Fragen beantwortet. Die Veranstaltungsreihe ist praxisorientiert. Sie erhalten konkrete Tipps und Tricks, wie Sie neue Technologien einsetzen können. Alle Webinars werden ausführlich dokumentiert, so dass Sie alle Informationen später in Ruhe nachverfolgen können.
Webinarleiter ist Holger Nauheimer. Der Autor des Change Management Toolbook ist weltweit durch seine publizistische Arbeit und sein Wirken in Organisationen bekannt. Seit zwei Jahren beschäftigt sich Holger Nauheimer mit der Nutzung neuer Technologien zur Begleitung von Veränderungsprozessen in Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft.
Wenn Sie am Webinar Nr. 1 teilnehmen wollen, schicken Sie eine kurze Email an firstname.lastname@example.org. Als technologische Plattform werden wir Dimdim einsetzen. Das bedeutet für Sie: keine Downloads, Sie benötigen nur ein Headset oder Lautsprecher.
Wie gesagt, die Teilnahme an dem ersten Webinar ist frei; die Teilnahme ist begrenzt. Wenn Sie dann an der weiteren Reihe teilnehmen wollen, kostet Sie dies € 168 plus USt für die gesamten restlichen drei Seminare. Sie gehen mit der Anmeldung zum ersten Webinar keinerlei Verpflichtungen ein.
Wir freuen uns auf Ihre Teilnahme und bitten Sie, diese Nachricht an interessierte Kollegen weiterzuleiten.
Last Tuesday, I attended an interesting workshop on Kick-Starting Creative Processes with Piritta Kantojävi and Juliane Neumann from the international, Finland based training group Grape People. Piritta has implemented literally out-of-the-box thinking. Here is a summary of what happens in such a process:
Participants of a workshop which could on any topic that requires creative thinking (new products, marketing ideas, etc.) work in groups on creating chains of associations. The trigger for these associations are shoe boxes filled with crazy stuff (I forgot to take photos!). Our group had box laid out in pink, with lots of nails sticking into the box, a small bronce eros figure and two feathers. Another box had a little sailing boat, a beach photo and some small glas containers. So strange...
Looking at the content of these boxes, we started to write down everything that came our mind (our general topic was that of a "Hapiness Factory" - creating products that make Germans more happy). Within 20 minutes, having looked into four of these boxes, we had about 40 small pieces of paper with words or sentences. In the next phase, we continued working individually on these papers, checking whether some ideas would be worth to specify and follow up.
We stopped here. In reality, work would start from this point, leading eventually to an action plan.
A detailed description of the method can be found at Piritta's website.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
IBM has recently published the results of a global survey on change and Change Management. The "Global Making Change Work Study" involved 1500 practitioners. Some results (IBM promised to write a more detailed guest post on this blog):
Eight out of ten CEOs anticipate substantial or very substantial change over the next ten years, yet they rate their ability to manage change 22 percent lower than their expected need for it - a change gap that has nearly tripled since 2006.
...the outperformers did not face fewer challenges than others; they simply anticipated more change and were more effective at managing the change.
On average, practitioners rated only 41 percent of projects are successful, defined as meeting time, budget and quality goals.
The respondents identified the change of mindsets and attitudes and change of corporate culture as the most challenging task to accomplish in change processes. Top management support and employment involvment are key factors for successful change. Nothing new, but good to see some numbers which support what we were preaching for years.
Much more, dive into the study, it's worth and I predict it will become one of the most cited reports in 2009.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Because of the move of our company to a new address, we missed the last invoice of our provider. Great! Email and website accounts suspended; two hours of productive time lost and emotional turmoil. These are the days when I wish to be back to technological stoneage. I hope my email wil work again in a few hours meanwhile you can use my h.nauheimer at Gmail account to contact me.
I should really think of using Gmail as a standard, as many of my colleagues do, and have the POP3 and Outlook as a backup. This would mean a real paradigm shift for me - using Google calendar, email, and other things and finally shifting my activities even more to the Web (as I described a few days ago). That would finally mean walking the talk, doing what I preach.
For some strange reason, I still insisted too much on offline work instead of using all the web services that are now available. Still, my question remains - am I moving from one technological dependency (to my POP3 account provider) to another one (to the almighty Google)? What if one day Google does not work anymore, for a day, or a week, or for ever? Or all my old email communication is lost in cyberspace? Can we trust one company so much?
Back to work!
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Friday, January 16, 2009
Jevon MacDonald has written an interesting post about the bigger goal of social media (SM). He writes
The larger conversation about using Social Software to transform the enterprise is one we have been having here on the FastForwardBlog for over 3 years now (can you believe that?). I like to think that while the world of Social Media Consultants have been out there giving eachother back rubs, the Enterprise Social Software community has been hard at work. Progress has been slow, but we are starting to see value emerge.
Once you can create real value however, you are able to produce and scale. Learning how to generate simple returns just means that you have to keep working harder to keep returns coming.
And there is the difference for me. There is still a lot of work ahead, years of it probably, but once we start to solve the problems of creating an organization that is built on Social principals, we will have created something new, not simply incremental. This is not Marketing with “Social Media” tagged on the front of it, this is not “Change Management” using Web 2.0 tools. This is something completely new, yet unknown but with the promise of real change and real value.
I agree that we've only just begun. Hey, remember that 16, 17 years ago we were still sitting on trees with regards to web technology use. It is always sobering to read again the Newsweek interview of Clifford Stoll from 1995 "The Internet? Bah! Hype alert: Why cyberspace isn't, and will never be, nirvana". So, we just started to crawl and, BANG! there is SM as a new tool to connect, communicate, network and co-create. At least here in Europe, the majority of people in organization have not yet got the point. It is a bit like the period of 1995-1997 where many people said "Why would I need a website?" (the same people said a few years earlier "Why would I need a mobile phone?"). Now, the same people say "Why should I engage in social networks; it's a waste of time?" So, let's be patient. I predict that in 5 years SM will be part of our normal life (like now Internet shopping etc.). See my post from yesterday.
I come from the field of organizational change and here we had been talking about whole systems change for the last 10, 20 years and we had a couple of good tools like Open Space Technology, Appreciative Inquiry, World Café, Real Time Strategic Change etc. So for me SM is just a matter of scale. What we did in workshops with a couple of hundred or thousand folks before, we can now do with the whole world.
I also believe that hardware and software that support SM are not yet developed far enough to make participation in SM for the average technophobian person intuitive and easy to use. Also, most people have not yet comprehended that we are about to compose the orbituary of traditional organizations. Newspapers? Banks? Insurances? Do we still need them? Governments? Bah! I still wait for the first virtual government to emerge (or, at least, the first traditional government to fall because of SM).
Let's be patient, and, more important for those of us for whom living in cyberspace has become natural, let us continue explain the revolutionary and transformative potential of SM to the folks sitting next desk. And let us work on simplification of things.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Yesterday I met with my friend Stefan Meister who runs Intercultures, a leading provider of services related to intercultural communication. Over a good Japanese dinner we updated each other about what we currently up to, his holidays in India, my current challenge to loose around 15 pounds, etc.
Part of our conversation centred around Web 2.0 and I did a kind of sales pitch ("Why should one like you observe and exploit what is currently happening in social networks on the web"). It gave me a good preparation for my keynote next week. Now, I don't know how much of what I going to summarize here is any news for my blog readers. Interesting question, indeed - can I assume that because somebody is reading blogs they know all about Web 2.0?
Coming back to my conversation of yesterday, Stefan said that he had made the decision to focus on other means of PR, which I found fair. I mean, I do spend about 20-30 hours a month, if not more on writing or reading stuff on the Web.
So, why should consultants and trainers actually observe and exploit Web 2.0? There is a couple of good reasons to do it:
1. If you are a good and productive blogger or tweeter, you become a kind of thought leader in the field. The same applies to your activity in social networks such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Xing, etc., where you can build up your reputation as an expert in your field.
2. People who do read blogs, tweets, or discussions, often reference them and link to your website. It is creating traffic, no doubt.
3. Search engines see every blog entry like a new webpage. So, if you have 200 articles in your blog, that is 200 entry points to the your website, i.e. the place were you market your goods (you do have a website, have you?).
4. Building up networks takes time. It took me like ten years to get connected to the current 14,000 subscribed readers of the Change Management Toolbook. With the new tools this process is much quicker. I like the spirit of the blogosphere and the twittosphere, where you kind find a lot of mutual support be referencing, retweeting, etc.
5. It is the future. The younger generation will certainly use social networking tools for communication more than they do email. The sooner you learn to meet them in their communication channels, the better.
6. It educates you. I learn a lot of cool things which I probably wouldn't have found if not some other people have told you on their blogs, tweeds, linkedin comments etc. The tools have a lot of side benefits. For example, I will use Twitter and blogging in the future to get a better documentation of the workshops I lead.
7. It creates change. That is the essence of what I will be talking about next week: Open Space Technology, AI, World Café etc. was yesterday. Web 2.0 is today. The possibility to initiate change in large groups has multiplied by about 1 000 000 times (why I am saying that? The largest Open Space or Workd Café workshops I know were with about 3,000 folks. There have been some AI processes with a couple of ten thousands. Nearly half of the world is now connected by the Web. That makes potentially a group of 3 billion people which you can engage in a process). I deeply believe that virtual networks are the answer for the problems of the 21st century.
By the way, I encourage you to subscribe to my Twitter account, I am posting regularly about interesting stuff I discover on the web.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Thanks to Roberta Hill from 1-focus, I stumbled upon Kiva.org, a philantropic website that organizes loans for entrepreneurs in the developing world (strange - I haven't used the word "developing world" for quite a time, my friend Gil use to say the 2/3 world), anyhow. So...
Kiva's mission is to connect people through lending for the sake of alleviating poverty.
Kiva is the world's first person-to-person micro-lending website, empowering individuals to lend directly to unique entrepreneurs in the developing world.
Interesting that just today I discovered also Prosper.com, a US based and US focused micro-credit website organizing loans to ordinary people.
The people you see on Kiva's site are real individuals in need of funding - not marketing material. When you browse entrepreneurs' profiles on the site, choose someone to lend to, and then make a loan, you are helping a real person make great strides towards economic independence and improve life for themselves, their family, and their community. Throughout the course of the loan (usually 6-12 months), you can receive email journal updates and track repayments. Then, when you get your loan money back, you can relend to someone else in need.
You can also join a group of funders, such as the one of Roberta Hill / sustaining change in order to increase the momentum.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Mark from The Leap Inside writes on management in crisis:
First, the need to bring internal and external communication together so that all communicators have a complete picture of what needs to be done and can plan to address the needs of each stakeholder group in full knowledge of the impact on others. Second, the vital need to maintain the Employer Brand - it's far too easy to sacrifice all that's good and distinctive about an organisation when the going gets tough. Finally, my experience is that we're too quick to focus all our efforts on the people losing their jobs, and neglect the huge impact job losses, changing roles and reorganised departments have on those left to soldier on. Very quickly in the change process these people have to become the focus for our support and efforts - whether we're line managers, business leaders or communicators.
Monday, January 12, 2009
I really have to get going for my presentation on Web 2.0 and change management next week at the German Forum for Large Group Facilitation. A lot of things happened since I presented on the topic at the IAF conference in Atlanta. During the last weeks I have done a lot of research and it is now time to put all of this in a sequence. But instead of reflecting on Web 2.0, I became interested in what other people call Web 3.0 and Web 4.0 - what's next?
When geeks talk and write about Web 3.0, there isn't much controversy. Web 3.0 is the semantic web, already described more than two years ago by Tim Berners-Lee, the originator of hyperlinks and the WWW. The semantic web will be able to distill meaning out of the information that is out in the Internet. It will be able to understand how words connect to each - rather than currently deduce that words are related if they are located close enough in a text. Then finally, I can type in a sentence like "What Christmas dinner suits a group of six highly sophisticated people?" and I will get a smart answer, or "My blood pressue is 130/90, I have eaten lots of junk food recently, shall I see a doctor?"
Although Web 3.0 might be real in 5 or 10 or more years (or never), people talk about what could be Web 4.0. A more grim outlook is that of an Orwellian world intelligence service (don't we have that already), portrayed perfectly in this video on Pizza Surveillance:
On the more positive side, Seth Godin, one of the leading technology bloggers writes:
Web4 is about making connections, about serendipity and about the network taking initiative. Some deliberately provocative examples:
I'm typing an email to someone, and we're brainstorming about doing a business development deal with Apple. A little window pops up and lets me know that David over in our Tucscon office is already having a similar conversation with Apple and perhaps we should coordinate.
As a project manager, my computer knows my flow chart and dependencies for what we're working on. And so does the computer of every person on the project, inside my team and out. As soon as something goes wrong (or right) the entire chart updates.
I don't get company spam any more ("fill out your TPS reports") because whenever anyone in my group of extended colleagues highlights a piece of corporate spam, it's gone for all of us. But wait, it's also smart enough that when a recipient highlights a mail as worth reading, it goes to the top of my queue. If, over time, the system senses (from how long I read the mail, or that I delete it, or that I don't take action) that the guy's recommendations are lame, he loses cred.
In my words, I could ask the Internet - which, this goes without saying, will be my iPhone instead of my laptop, or my kitchen aid, or my blood pressure device - "What would be the best Christmas dinner for my friends Goetz, Verena, Stefan, Marilha, my wife and me?", or "Shall I be concerned about my health?"
Fascinating, and frightening, isn't it? I'll keep researching.
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
Natalie L. Petouhoff, PhD, Tamra Chandler, and Beth Montag-Schultz published a nice article on the topic: The Business Impact of Change Management. Citing the above mentioned McKinsey study, they write:
The 11 most unsuccessful companies in the McKinsey study had poor change management, which showed up as the following:Prosci has developed an ROI model for change projects. They say that there are three decisive human factors in such a project that determine the ROI:
* Lack of commitment and follow through by senior executives;
* Defective project management skills among middle managers;
* Lack of training of and confusion among frontline employees.
The 11 most successful companies in the study had excellent OCM programs:
* Senior and middle managers and frontline employees were all involved;
* Everyone's responsibilities were clear;
* Reasons for the project were understood and accepted throughout the organization.
- Speed of adoption (how quickly employees begin using the new process, system, technology or tools the change introduces)
- Ultimate utilization (how many employees are engaged and practicing the 'new way of doing things' created by the project or initiative)
- Proficiency (how effective employees are when they do implement the change)
Here is a little fictual scenario / case study:
A global fruit exporter wants to implement a software that helps them to analyze the international market trends for their products. For the sake of the example let's say it is all about bananas. The new software would allow them to better track local retail prices in their markets, as well as forcast productivity changes, producer prices, the impact of changing weather conditions, consumer trends, etc. The implementation costs of the software without change management intervention are estimated at around US$ 4 million.
The core of the software is a user interface that is integrated with the existing company's enterprise system (ERP), but is basically based on a web 2.0 functionality - the employees of the company are required and requested to enter all kind of information into a system that is acessible to them. Through intelligent filters, those data are converged and condensed. Weekly reports are available to the decision makers in the company.
Originally, all levels of the company welcomed the idea of the new software. However, when it came to implementation of the system it turned out that the employees did not contribute to the dynamic data base. Half a year after after the official launch of the software, results were far beyond expectations, and adoption rates were low.
Management called in a consulting company which carried out a change management programme including the following steps:
a) a stakeholder analysis, involving 500 employees worldwide,
b) an internal communication campaign,
c) 10 smaller workshops, each involving 20-30 employees, and management staff,
d) one larger workshop involving 400 employees plus the entire top management level
The investment for these intervention was US$ 1 million, so the entire investment for the implementation of the software was US$ 6 million.
As a result, utilization rate of the new system doubled, finally leading to a 10% increase of profit of the banana trade. At an annual turnover of US$ 100, and a profit before taxes of US$ 30 million, profit rose by US$ 3 million. For simplicity reasons we assume that opportunity costs and deprecitation for the investment were US$ 1 million. The total investement plus opportunity costs plus depriciation was US$ 6 million showing that the investment was profitable after 2 years. Without the change management intervention, profitability increase from the intervention would have been US$ 1.5 million annually. So, the change management intervention was clear justfiable and profitable.
Change management interventions are needed in good or bad times. When proporly planned and adequately funde, they increase adoption rates, utiliztation and proficiency. However, most companies believe that one shot workshop, glossy brochures etc. do the trick. I believe that in future - given rising uncertainty and complexity - projects will need roughly 10% of their original budget for change management interventions. Time is money!
Monday, January 5, 2009
I have been reporting about the activities and publications of Otto Scharmer before. Otto remains the most visible contemporary figure in our field. Everybody talks about Theory U, and the upcoming first German public workshop of Otto was oversubscribed like a Rolling Stones concert shortly after its announcement. I won't be there :(
Now, the Presencing Institute has placed the core presentations of Otto Scharmer into Open Source. They help to understand the concept better and some tools and exercises are attached. Thanks, Otto and all the best for the upcoming workshop!
Friday, January 2, 2009
After a short holiday, I returned to my desk to start preparation of a couple of projects ahead of me (still no sign of the crisis in my business!). One tasks is the preparation of a keynote on the use of the Web in social change, which I will present in a German forum end of January. This is an opportunity to check the latest developments. My point of departure is the blog of Stowe Boyd, my Web 2.0 guru. It is good to see that Stowe is as productive as ever.
One of his older postings caught my eye: Tools I Use, already published in September 2008. Stowe is always up to date with the latest applications that help to simplify the life of a virtual worker. The article is a good summary of the best tools for sharing and working.
Interesting to see how Stowe gradually moves away from desktop applications and tries to get as much as possible done on the Web. Well, this tendency is not new (it has been predicted already years ago). However, until recently the range of available Web based applications was incomplete - so far, for certain tasks you had to use the programmes on your personal computer. Apart from that, you had to spend a lot of money, a fact which didn't give you any reason to move from offline to online.
Now, there are free applications for virtually any task that a desktop can do, and more. A major shift was the introduction of Google Apps which provides a full office suite, and lately affordable conference applications like Dimdim (free of charge for up to 20 participants). By the way, I have not yet found an online application that replaces my Adobe Acrobat professional, and I myself still use the classical offline Word Office package. One major limitation I find is the simple fact that you cannot access the Internet everywhere you are, for example in airplanes or in remote aeras. Even with my German mobile data flatrate I experience high costs for Internet use abroad when I don't find a free WLan or DSL connection. So, at times I still prefer to have good old offline applications. But I predict that in a couple of years, Internet access will be granted everywhere in the world maybe except in the heart of the Sahara, free of charge or with a global roaming contract.
Another factor limiting me to fully shift to online tools is that most of them have a basic free offer but if you want to enjoy the full capacity of the tool, it costs you. Most of the premium tools cost around 10 US$ per month. If I used 5 of them, this would quickly add to 600 US$ per year, a price which would allow me to buy at least one to two average offline software packages.
In Stowe's post, I found a couple of applications that I hadn't heard of so far, and I am currently experimenting with Evernote, which promises: Evernote helps you remember everything across the devices and platforms that you use. Let's see whether this is true - it would slow down the obvious effects of my age. More soon (if I don't forget...)
After all - here we are talking about tools which allow social networks to cooperate. The mechanisms of creating a virtual social movement is less related to tools but to the webliteracy of individual actors and their readiness to contribute and share. As I have described before, social development lags behind technology development. Like in real life, virtual change management is about people and their willingness to change and effect change.