How innovation can come from emergent change

Change Management Specialists will be familiar with planned change strategies; however, they will also need to deal with emergent change at times. These emergent changes do not afford those involved with same degree of planning, reaction time. What’s more, they often involve looking for answers for problems and issues that haven’t been dealt with before; answers that require a degree of creativity and stepping outside of comfort zones to get the job done.

Emergent change requires innovative thinking

Using initiative and creativity to find a path through the emergent change will bring into play your experience, your knowledge and an ability to think quickly and make plans on the hoof. Solutions found for emergent change can be equally as effective as those achieved during the more drawn out process of planned change. Relying on intuition, your best guess and having little time to weigh up options can find sometimes mean you find uniquely workable fix.

Emergent innovation

Emergent innovation comes into play to drive these changes, and puts an emphasis on adaptability and learning. It is often after the issue is dealt with that you are then able to share solutions and review results, but emergent innovation, which initially came with no fixed plan to address, could teach you methods and strategies that never would have come to mind when planning for change.

Sharing emerging innovation possibilities

If you take the view that emergent innovation strategies are useful for improving processes, or at the very least, looking at them from a different angle, to explore if there is a better way of moving forward, you might be surprised by what you learn.

For example, what would happen if other staff members were also empowered to try new ways of doing their job? If many of your employees, within set parameters, were given the opportunity to try their way of doing things, they could effectively enhance their productivity using their knowledge of managing workloads and processes day in and day out. Theory is often very different to practice and those ‘on the ground’ can offer a different perspective on your business, which you may benefit from.

Obviously, not all of these ‘on the ground’ ideas are workable solutions, but by listening to how your team feel change could be beneficial, it opens the conversation about change. This leaves you the opportunity to accept those ideas that show promise and discard those that do not. Obviously it is essential to communicate reasons for the rejection of unworkable ideas, but at the very least, your team should feel included and listened to. You are looking for fast feedback rather than fast payback as the outcome and emphasis of emergent change.

Adapting for emergent change

Becoming too secure in a planned change mentality or only effecting emergent change when it cannot be avoided can be damaging to your business. Emergent innovation may seem riskier and more haphazard in comparison, but it requires less in terms of resources, which planned change must have given to it. It gives opportunity for creativity and flexibility, which can lead to a more agile working environment. A business that builds flexibility into its approach to change will be more likely to succeed in today’s modern business environment.

Supporting people through change is easier when they feel involved, and often, emergent innovation offers this chance for inclusion.