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Putting the people back in change

I’m certainly not the first person to talk about the evolution of change management and how we are seeing the profession adapt to new ways of working.

But my own experimentation with human centred design (HCD) over the last 12 months has fundamentally changed the way I work with clients and how I approach transformational change.

Using HCD and design thinking for accelerated change

I first came to HCD after seeing numerous small- and large-scale transformation programs fail to deliver real, sustained change.

Established change methodologies provided me with structure and helped clarify my thinking but often lacked a people element.

Where change methodologies are the what of change, HCD, is the how. And as I’ve seen time and time again, when we bring in the human element, we get better and quicker outcomes.

Why does it work? 

HCD is a way of taking people and teams through a change experience where they are truly at the centre of the change, and where each intervention is unique to the people.

More specifically:

·      It helps us to empathise with the people we design change interventions for

·      It is artisan in approach and bespoke in design – no ‘lift and drop’ of change programs

·      It starts with curiosity and objectivity and is grounded in iteration, innovation and experimentation, and

·      It is both organisational and personal.

But what does it look like in practice?

Over the coming months, I want to share my learnings and successes where HCD has shaped a unique change experience for my clients and their stakeholders. This has included:

·       Framing problems in a creative way: By using the rose/thorn/bud technique with a newly created function, I was able to help a team to understand that previous team dynamics can help create the future social contract of commitment to each other.

·      Understanding stakeholders to create new value: Following the formation of a globally distributed team, I helped them visualise their stakeholder landscape to understand and define their relationship with each other and engagement in the future.

·      Defining new roles and future capabilities: Following the reshaping of a leadership team, I coached a client to use the concept poster to articulate a new role, responsibilities, capabilities and stakeholder network.

I’m looking forward to sharing how these concepts were applied to accelerate change outcomes in a creative and unique way.

In the meantime, I’d love to hear if HCD has changed your approach to your work.

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