Nelson Soken, Ph.D, Chief Innovation Strategist
During this time, I find myself spending countless hours absorbing information about the pandemic from both a health and an economic standpoint. At times, I am emotionally drained and anxious like many of us; however, at some point, my optimistic spirit emerges and my focus moves toward a positive future, filled with opportunity.
In our Intelligent Risk-Taking, Strategic Thinking, and Managing Innovation workshops, we introduce the concept of the change formula adapted from Gleicher’s research for change (Dannemiller, K. D., and Jacobs, R. W. (1992). “Changing the Way Organizations Change: A Revolution of Common Sense.” The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 28(4), 480-498.)
The formula is as follows D x V x S > R ->C where:
The left side of the equation is:
D = Dissatisfaction with the status quo
V = Vision of a preferable future
S = Support for and assistance in making the change
And the right side of the equation is:
R = Risk (perceived) of the loss of tangible or intangible resources (money, opportunity, “face,” etc.)
C = Change
Thus, If D, V, and S are not present in some form, the intended change will not occur; to support and drive change in people and organizations, the strength or impact of D, V, or S must be increased, or R needs to be reduced.
Interestingly, this formula describes the typical organizational situation we face during the current COVID-19 pandemic. We have been forced into a dramatic situation where an external force (a virus) has dictated that we make dramatic health, social, and economic changes within a matter of weeks.
To respond to the current circumstances, it is critical for us to use the power of creativity and innovation. This situation requires us to “color outside the lines” in order to manage our businesses. Examples of such creativity are described in a Washington Post article by Rachel Siegel, “Cheeseburger,” (April 11, 2020) where restaurants are tapping into their supply chain contacts to do whatever it takes to generate revenue, continue operations and provide value. Some restaurants are going beyond curbside take-out orders and providing other “essentials” that customers need, such as produce, meats, and other food staples; even selling or providing toilet paper as an incentive for customer orders. In a Forbes magazine article by Jason Wingard entitled “Pandemic Pivots: These 3 Companies are Making it Work”, Wingard describes how companies have pivoted in different ways: designers making face masks, distilleries making hand sanitizer, a taco restaurant creating an “emergency kit” which includes supplies to make 40 tacos plus a free roll of toilet paper. This is innovation in a time of crisis and aligns with the old saying, “necessity is the mother of invention.” So, what does the future look like and how will we navigate it, starting right now? Read more ›