change management

Change Mindset - a case for Open Innovation 2.0

By Anna Koj

We’re living in the era of exponential change. New ideas pop-up at a much higher frequency rate than ever before and one of the common challenges for all organisations today is the competition for customer’s attention and buy-in. 

So, why should customers choose you? While changes these days occur more quickly and may take us in unexpected directions, it’s also increasingly more difficult to actually come up with an idea that would leave competition far behind for long. High quality is essential but it’s more a starting point than a unique distinctive success factor. What is key, is the overall user experience you build around your offering. And building successful user experience requires a well-developed change mindset. It is essential to keep an open mind, seek feedback and remain flexible to adapt accordingly, and most importantly, perceive individuals in their whole selves, and as part of a broader eco-system they function in.

Easier said than done?

Yes, and no. There is no “one-size-fits-all” solution, which makes it more specific and may require more work. The good news is that the secret ingredient is available to all. Stop thinking in terms of “us vs them”, start thinking in terms of just “us all”.

It’s about how WE influence collectively the society and environment around us, what contribution WE have in making our lives better, what role WE have in building solutions that will help us stay better informed or work more efficiently. It’s about thinking bigger than a single event or a new product. 

What is the role of open innovation in all of this? To succeed in this new reality, we need to employ new paradigms, such as the Quadruple Helix Model, which puts knowledge exchange, collaboration and co-creation at its core. By bringing together public sector, academia, industry and civil sector participants, we build on our collective intelligence as a society. We bring to the discussion all aspects of our lives that make us who we are and impact us as individuals, and we facilitate the development of innovative solutions that go beyond anything that any individual or organisation could achieve on their own. 

The article has been originally written for HQ - The Association Magazine and published in the July 2019 edition of the magazine, accessible online, here.

Change (Mindset) is the New Constant

By Anna Koj

change.png

Change is a very important concept. As complex to comprehend fully, as it is common in our lives since forever. Over the years, a lot has been written and said about change management processes and techniques, developed to help leaders drive and manage change in their organisations. 

The concept of change today, however, as per its own nature, has evolved. With the development of artificial intelligence and growing innovation in the area of automation, we are witnessing changes occurring at an ever increasing speed, and becoming more and more exponential. As Yuval Noah Harari notes, we struggle with imagining the scope of change in the future because we keep using the same thinking patterns we have been using for years. 

Traditionally, when thinking about change we anticipate a disruptive force challenging the status quo, a period of adaptation, and finally stabilisation in the new status quo. However, what is more probable is that constant change will become in the coming years the new normal. This means that both as individuals and as organisations we need to look for ways to become more agile, reactive and adaptable. We need to develop tools and mechanisms to thrive even if we don’t have all the data to predict what future will bring us. What we need to work on is, first and foremost, our own Change Mindset. 

The Change Mindset allows you to fully embrace the concept of constant change, without fearing the unknown. It empowers you to unleash your creativity to proactively drive and shape change, to write your own story. Ultimately, it plays to the strengths of your whole self, as it mobilises to capitalise on your full skillset rather than staying closed in the box of any specific professional role. This broader way of perceiving yourself is crucial in ensuring success, as supported by the results of the study by the World Economic Forum on the top 10 Skills needed to Thrive in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. While complex problem solving, unsurprisingly leads the list, skills such as creativity, critical thinking or emotional intelligence have all gained in importance. 

Throughout the year, in a series of targeted and crisp reflections, I will explore with you ways to develop, practice and empower your Change Mindset. 

The article has been originally written for HQ - The Association Magazine and published in the February 2019 edition of the magazine, accessible online, here.

May curiosity be with you

By Anna Koj

In times when most people are satisfied with half-relevant and simplified answers, as long as they come in swiftly, it is not always easy to be the one digging deeper. Temptation is high to google your way through. 

Genuine curiosity is as precious as it is rare these days.It can also be an extremely powerful tool in becoming a better and more authentic leader. 

Firstly, curious minds are never satisfied with simplistic answers

They always ask: “why?”, look for details, analyse and get to the bottom of things. This allows them to stand on strong foundations, see the broader picture and trust their own judgment. They start and lead new conversations instead of just dropping an occasional answer. 

karl-fredrickson-74973-unsplash.jpg

Secondly, curiosity opens your mind to new concepts.

It makes you seek new experiences, develop diverse interests and grow beyond one specific role you see yourself in. This is the very basis of becoming a leader: you are confident in making unexpected and unconventional connections, bringing inspiring people on board because you know their value just as you know yours; and you don’t feel threatened. You focus on creating something bigger than yourself.

Thirdly, it teaches you to ask the right questions – a skill that is often underestimated

If properly used, it can not only showcase your knowledge and help you gather information, but also create lasting and meaningful relationships with people around you. As they say, they may forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel. And we all like to feel listened to and understood.

adult-blur-bokeh-712786.jpg

Finally, it helps embrace the unknown and thrive in unpredictable circumstances

Today more than ever things can change by 360 degrees in a heartbeat. To be a successful transformational thinker, it is no longer enough to be able to comprehend the complexity of the world. What is needed is to be bold and feel comfortable leading while knowing that you don’t know most of the variables. 

May curiosity be with you!  

The article has been first published as part of the HQ - The Association Magazine's #85. All digital editions of the magazine can be found on their website, here.