The Irony of Change

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Community Manager

While technology has evolved dramatically overtime, the approach to change management around implementing new technology, ironically, seems to have stayed relatively constant. In 1985, the Harvard Business Review published an article titled “Implementing New Technology.” Although the technology referenced in the article is outdated; the concepts surrounding the challenges of rolling out and driving adoption, as well as the strategies used to address these challenges strike a very similar chord as strategies used today—including taking on a marketing approach, like we discussed in a post last week.

 

Here are some of the quotes that resonated with us the most from the article:

 

  • “New technologies, no matter what their origin, confront managers with a distinct set of challenges”
  • “Generally, when technology is rolled out, it is handed off between organizations, but the runners should have been running in parallel for a long time”
  • “Think of implementation as an internal marketing, not selling, job…selling starts with a finished product; marketing, with research on user needs and preferences”
  • “The organizational hills are full of managers who believe that an innovation’s technical superiority and strategic importance will guarantee acceptance”
  • “An innovation needs a champion to nurture it, and any new technology capable of inspiring strong advocacy will also provoke opposition.”
  • Implementation Paradox: “The higher the organizational level at which managers define a problem, the greater the probability of successful implementation. However, the closer the definition and solution of problems or needs are to end-users, the greater the probability of success”

 

Sound familiar? Do you agree that the principles of change are relatively constant? Do the change management principles shared in the article still apply today?

1 Reply
Highlighted

@Anna Chu 

I like these points

  • “Think of implementation as an internal marketing, not selling, job…selling starts with a finished product; marketing, with research on user needs and preferences”
  • “The organizational hills are full of managers who believe that an innovation’s technical superiority and strategic importance will guarantee acceptance”
  • “An innovation needs a champion to nurture it, and any new technology capable of inspiring strong advocacy will also provoke opposition.”
  • Implementation Paradox: Do not agree with it being a paradox because a paradox implies both cannot be true. Both of these statements are true and to have a really successful implementation both need to be addressed.