Thinkful change


This week we’ve invited Beverly Heaver, head of disruptive horizon scanning and new futures curation at the Mod Institute to talk to us about change and why it matters

Change, it makes you think. Why don’t we co-think about it?

Is your STP change process a doughnut or a cupcake? Are you a platform or a train? Are you leading from the edge or from a legacy power base such as the middle or the top?

You’re at an unconference on followership: will you face the screen and listen to the speaker or will you embrace a new hearing paradigm and listen collaboratively on social media? Is it still listening or is it something else? Collaboristening? Is this what innovation feels like?

Why do we talk about large-scale change programmes when we could talk about new change? Programmes are expensive, boring and go on for ages. New change projects cost next to nothing and take no more than a few days. Forget conventional notions of evidence, outcomes and return on investment. Embrace new value.

You don’t need experts to run agile change projects. You have an army of unexperts at your disposal, people who bring a completely fresh approach to problems because they’re not encumbered by “knowledge”, “understanding” or “ability”. Together you can turn the old concept of achievement on its head. 

How do we resolve the four paradoxes of inter-system change?

  1. Which activists are best at mobilising change? Squirrels, rabbits or penguins?
  2. Do you know the difference between changing, shifting, modifying and transforming? Does your team know? Do you need to reinvent your team – or the concept of teams? Can you design it together? What would that look like? Funny? Silly? Pointless? How would that feel?
  3. Old power or #newpower? Old power is dominated by men named Ian, Simon or David; it’s “done to”, it’s all about board papers and long meetings in London. #newpower is fun, creative, holding hands, playing, making, sharing, hugging. One is not “better” than the other. We are all on the same journey to simplexity, the simplicity on the other side of complexity.
  4. How do we harness the five types of energy we need to make it happen: pastries, coffee, boiled sweets, infographics and national funding?

Are you a disruptive innovator? Do you change things because they need changing or because it’s better than working? Is change ever finished? What can we do differently? What does different look like? How can we embed it in everything we do?

Change is changing. We are constantly moving beyond the present and into the future. When will we get there? That depends on how much we invest in our social networks and digital skills, but we get closer to the future every day just as we get further from the past.

Think about it for a moment. How does that feel?

Paradigms editor Julian Patterson


Reproduced at by kind permission of Julian Patterson.