We have made organizations very complex and seriously de-humanized them with all sorts of plans, rules and procedures. We now see and feel the effects of this: too many meetings, too many priorities, too much blah-blah-blah... We have put a lot of waste on top of the essence of organizational change: the people.
We live in a time of paradoxes
Old paradigms shift to new paradigms. Control, top-down management, linear working methods, one-size-fits all and maximization are things that worked well with in a previous era, but of which we have now reached the limits. What used to work no longer works well, or no longer in all circumstances. Estimating what works when is one of the big management challenges of our time.
From top-down management to co-creation
There is a need for involving people in organizational change. The studies do not lie about it. Only about 30% of the employees feel involved in their organization. Creating value with and for individual employees is a predictive factor for their involvement and loyalty.
It takes a village to create change
Creating value together is the basis of co-creation. It is a way to involve your people more and to make organizational change collaborative (at least when it is organised with good intention and follow-up). In co-creation, you use the different and complementary skills and knowledge of your employees.
In organizational change, it comes down to actively involving employees in the development of change, from identifying a challenge to implementing and improving solutions. The role of the employee becomes much more central in shaping and implementing the changes, which reduces resistance and creates a greater sense of ‘belonging and contributing’.
“Co-creation works because even the most creative people rarely know the full answer, usually they know a part of it. Somewhere someone probably knows another part of the solution, and someone else, and someone else, until a complete picture emerges. By working together we often come to the solution faster and in a more elegant way”. John Williams, co-founder of WikiSolutions
There are several methods of co-creation
We prefer to use the Design Thinking process ourselves, for the simple reason that it is intrinsically human-centered. Since organizational change is about people, design thinking is a very suitable approach for it.
Co-creation works for all types of organizations and teams, from strategic exercises to operational improvements and for every phase of the change process.
But for me: the sooner, the better! Even before there’s a solution…
Finally, a few tips:
- Work cross-functionally, only then you can take the different points of view into account in clarifying the problem or opportunity and in creating the solution.
- Know the co-creative process: a good co-creation that does not end in loud discussions requires a disciplined process. “You have to master creativity so well that you can give it free rein,” Guillaume Van der Stighelen once wrote in his fine words.
- Build creative self-confidence: we are our worst enemies when it comes to creative thinking and cooperation. Everyone has a role in the co-creative process and everyone can think creatively (or re-learn it). Creativity works like muscles, every healthy person has them and can develop them.
- Interact with employees where they are: do not think of interventions and solutions from an ivory tower, but look at how people work now, engage in dialogue and create solutions that are meaningful for employees instead of implementing theoretical solutions that no one needs.
- It is ongoing. Co-creation is often presented as a big process for big changes, but there are many more application possibilities than that. An adaptive organization is a co-creative organization, which carries creative dialogue as a basic principle and applies it in small and large forms.
- Do not sell. Do not use a co-creation process to sell your solution. Asking for input and then implementing the basic solution is asking for frustration and mortgages your future co-creative efforts.
- Focus on creating value together. Co-creation only works if there is real equality between the participants. If one or more people or parties are heard more or get more out of a co-creation (or think they are allowed to), there is no longer any question of co-creation.
- Trust the process and the people. A well-defined framework, with clear criteria and a good process gives people the space to give the best of themselves.
- Develop facilitation skills. A facilitator is crucial, especially for large projects, but also for small ones. A good facilitator does not stand out during the exercise, but ensures that results are achieved.
- Start small, but start.
Our experienced facilitators can help you to set-up and supervise internal co-creation processes or develop the necessary skills within your team. For more information: firstname.lastname@example.org