Quick summary: Co-creation helps ensure a successful I.T. adoption by giving a seat at the planning table to those who will be directly impacted by the change.
This is the third article in a five-part series about how change management can help ensure successful I.T. initiatives. Click the links below to read earlier installments, and we will link to future articles as we publish them.
In the first two articles in our series on change management for successful I.T. initiatives, we shared our four-step approach for overcoming roadblocks and explored the first step, strategic alignment. Today we’ll move on to the second step, co-creation.
In the previous article, we discussed the importance of aligning the change program strategically with your objectives and key results (OKRs) on multiple levels, from the product and the team all the way up to the organizational and market-condition levels. We believe I.T. adoption is about creating an enabling environment for people to do their best work amid ongoing change.
What is co-creation, and why is it important?
You’ve enlisted the support of senior decision makers and the other organizational influencers and players you rely on for success, and you’ve crafted a vision of the future. Now comes the hard part: bringing everyone else along on the I.T. adoption journey. Enter “co-creation,” the simple act of including those impacted by the change directly in adoption planning to reduce organizational risk and help achieve the desired outcomes of the change. Why?
Taking a bottom-up approach allows your teams to “own” the change themselves. Their ideas, their commitments, their recognition and reward preferences, and their approaches will create “built-in buy in” and reduce the likelihood of going back to the old ways of doing things. The concept of co-creation draws from the adult learning principles of self-direction, relevance, and “learning by doing” to enable performance. At the heart of change is the ability to learn, unlearn, and relearn effectively.
Co-creation will reduce resistance to organizational changes in the long term; however, without people management support, co-creation can look like a lot more work for impacted individuals. It is absolutely a good idea to empower people to craft how you get to your goal—as long as leaders are also willing to make time and space for change to flourish. People have finite time and resources both personally and professionally, and leaders must prioritize, deprioritize, and incentivize accordingly for co-creation to be successful.
Co-creation also allows organizations to tap into the expertise and insights of diverse stakeholders, including employees, customers, and partners. This diversity of thought and experience can help organizations identify blind spots, challenge assumptions, and generate new ideas that might not have been possible through a traditional, top-down approach.
Finally, co-creation helps build trust and transparency within an organization. By involving impacted people in the change process, organizations demonstrate a commitment to open communication, shared decision making, and a willingness to listen to feedback. This transparency and trust can lead to increased employee engagement, customer loyalty, a stronger brand reputation, and greater change capacity to tackle the disruptions we don’t see coming.
Partnering for success
Think about the last time an employer announced a change that affected you significantly—a change that you had no say in whatsoever. Even if the change was positive, you probably didn’t feel great about it. Now imagine how different things would have been if you’d had the opportunity to shape the solution, engage with its builders, and provide the initiative team with your perspectives. Most likely, you would have ended up feeling differently.
At Logic20/20, we avoid leaving people behind by focusing on co-creation at two levels:
• First, we give stakeholders and user teams involved in the change an active role in building the solutions.
• Second, our change experts partner with our clients’ internal communications, training, and change teams to ensure we’re leveraging the right blend of industry best practices and the organization’s known and effective methods.
Why UAT is not enough
There is a huge gap between the sort of feelings traditional user acceptance testing (UAT) engenders and the empowerment people feel when they know they’ve contributed to a solution that will drive their company forward.
Whereas UAT focuses on mere acceptance—”it’s good enough”—co-creation allows for “built-in buy-in,” as the individuals impacted by the change feel vested in shaping new ways of working. Users gain ownership of how the change will be achieved, in stark contrast to solutions being prescribed from the top down—or the (only slightly) better option, users being asked to participate as testers.
Bottom-line benefits of co-creation
When co-creation is done right, individual employees at all levels become architects of change, which gives them a stake in the success of the solution, lowers adoption risk, and improves business performance.
In the next two articles of the series, we’ll continue to explore the steps in our approach and share how they help engage users to ensure successful I.T. adoption. If you have any questions in the meantime, feel free to contact us.
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Fadi Salah is a manager in Logic20/20’s Strategy & Operations practice.
Beau Platte is a manager in Logic20/20’s Strategy & Operations practice.