Is Innovation Changing Change Management?

Photo by Phil Whitehouse

Photo by Phil Whitehouse

The terms change management and innovation are often tied together because both mean something new is occurring. However, because of its roots,  using the term "change management" could tarnish the reputation of your innovation project.

Nomenclature is everything. “Change management” as a term and a practice was made popular in the 1980s and 90s in the context of re-engineering projects. These projects tended to focus on cutting costs by using new IT and technology to automate existing processes. Wikipedia defines it well: the goal of the change management team was to "introduce the change and get approval" by employees and users. The team was friendly and helpful and would cheerlead to get people to adopt the change. But these changes were often made without the employee's input and rarely addressed their needs. Back then, this was as "human-centric" as re-engineering got and, in many cases, it still is.

Old business language dies hard. And choosing your words carefully can help you get off on the right foot when you're next navigating the changes of an innovation project.

Here's my take on how “managing change” differs during an innovation project versus a re-engineering project.

Managing Change Between Innovation and Re-Engineering Projects

Did I capture your perspective on change management? I'd love to hear your thoughts. Happy changing!