Innovation 500 – Change Starts with me

To kick things off we want to encourage everyone to think about the topic of Change starts with me and either send us a blog post from you or your team via email to [] for inclusion or simply add your comments below.  If you don’t think this is for you at the moment but are interested then sign up so we can keep you informed as we develop.

To give you a flavour we have included 3 posts from different people providing 3 different perspectives on the topic of Change starts with me.

Sara Cretney: Organisational Change Lead
I hold my hand up and admit it, I like change. I don’t just enjoy finding different and better ways to improve lives of the people in Devon, it is what drives me. It is what gives me purpose. I refuse to believe that we have all the answers and we know best, and I cannot believe that the way we currently do things is always the right or best way.

That is why I believe that everyone’s role in this organisation is to ask questions:

Why are we doing what we are doing?
What is the purpose (from our customers/citizens perspective, not ours!)?
How do we know that we are doing the most effective thing?
Who have we asked?
Is there something different we could do?
Is there something someone else could do?
Is anyone else struggling with this issue?
Has anyone else found a solution?
Do we need to do this at all?
What happens if we don’t?
Do we need to have this meeting?
Do we need to have this Board?

In an organisation as big and cumbersome as ours, with multiple layers of management and politics (with a big and small ‘P’), challenging and sometimes perverse external and internal targets, ever reducing funding, and ever increasing demand, it can be overwhelming. And much easier to take the path of least resistance.

Change is not easy and asking questions can sometimes be viewed as getting in the way of / distracting “progress”.  To anyone who has tried to suggest a change some of these may be familiar…

50 reasons not to change

Innovation 500 is your space to make change happen. Sign up and pledge to question the way we do things. There are resources, tools and support available to you – you only need to ask.

Change begins with each and every one of us.


Carl Haggerty – Digital Communications Lead
Being asked to write a post about change is somewhat challenging. I first started worrying about trying to sound clever, referencing interesting models of change and generally sounding like I know what I am doing or could be seen as an expert – but I’m not any of those things, I’m no different from anyone else – change is hard.

But then I stopped and reflected on a conversation I had with my youngest son about a year or more ago. He is an inspiration and we were talking about why he likes wearing odd socks on top of also wearing them inside out. His answer was simple and yet for me a profound one – he said “I wear odd socks because I can’t find two the same and I wear them inside out because I don’t like the way they feel on my feet when they are the right way around” I asked if he minded and whether anyone had said anything to him; he replied “It doesn’t matter Daddy, you could wear odd socks too if you wanted to, its actually fun”

So with permission or more like inspiration from my youngest son I started to wear odd socks and thought more about how I could give myself more permission to change and challenge some of the things I take for granted. So I decided to have a focus on “Disrupting myself” taking small steps to challenge and change the way I do things. So that change, and the feelings of uncertainty and anxiety it creates can become more familiar and I can learn to live with them.

What I have learnt is sustaining change is really hard, but like anything the more you try something the more likely you are to accept it and embrace it. So I now take positive steps to constantly change and challenge the way I do things, not just because it needs to change, but because i want to reassure myself that I can cope with change.

Change isn’t going away, change is constant, but in these times it is becoming faster and more intense so we need to support each other and work better at allowing people to be brave.

How could you cope better and be brave?

Use the Innovation 500 pages as a resource to find support and to give you help and tips to try new things!

Kevin Gillick: Project Manager
Ever heard of the phase ‘change starts with me’?

What does this really mean?

In the old days the decision to change anything was always made by your manager, boss or ‘head’ of something. They sometimes asked for your ideas and hopefully included them giving you credit, sometimes they even pretended the ideas were their own. Change was led from the top down through the business hierarchy with a mission and vision together with a good rational argument for wanting or having to do it. Normally this included some evidence of where this change had been tried and tested before or backed by experience.

In a new connected era we have an alternative to this old method. Change can come through the power of connection, shared purpose, co-creation and relationships. This is very much an emergent approach. One of the major differences with this approach is that we do not have to wait for someone else to give us permission to do this, we can easily make new connections and create shared purpose without asking for the normal permission of the old days. Leandro Herrero’s research also tells us that people who are highly connected have twice as much power to influence change as people with hierarchical power.

So how do you start?

Don’t wait for permission, take responsibility and do what is right and start making connections with people who share your purpose and like your idea.

Use the Innovation 500 pages as a resource to make these connections and find support for your ideas and to give you help and tips to keep the momentum going!

4 thoughts on “Innovation 500 – Change Starts with me

  1. Colin Bray

    I have found the most profound and difficult change to be the move from organisational and hierarchical thinking to purpose and outcomes-based thinking.

    In that context change is about a mind-set rather than practical action. But once the mind-set has changed practical actions and changes will always follow.

  2. Jo fellows

    I agree with you all that change comes from within – it’s far more powerful and how can you ask others to change if you don’t practice what you preach?! An interesting talk the other day reminded me of this again, but also highlighted that everyone is different – some people have the inbuilt ability to be more positive (in general and with regard to change) whilst others less so and it might be necessary for some to ‘practice’ and ‘get into the habit’ of using natural ‘inbuilt resources’ like optimism, agility and resilience. I guess the challenge for managers (and HR) is to help individuals to see this and be given the opportunity and time to practice and improve upon these ‘traits’. When you are an optimist like me, it’s easy to forget that others might need some more support to get into the same mindset!

  3. Ali Boyd

    Odd socks! ….. A step too far for me! ….
    All of my working life seems to have been focussed on supporting people through change but I haven’t yet identified a magic, “covers all” blueprint. Change is by its nature, a different experience for every individual which is why managing organisational change is so difficult. Overlay that with the many personal changes that every individual “manages” at any point in time and you have a heady mix of complexities and potential for stress.
    For me, standing back and trying to develop a process for change management feels like a futile exercise, by the time you have cogitated, developed, sense checked and it’s put into operation, the change has happened and no doubt the sands are already shifting again!
    I use my dear Mum’s strategy for housework when it comes to change ….. “start in one corner or one room, but just start!” Work with the willing, gather support and momentum, lead by example, gain trust and understanding by good communication and involvement. Change happens, it’s how that change is embraced and used to advantage that makes the difference.

  4. Jo Prince-White

    Being involved with people development I seem to spend my days reminding people that change is now constant and not like in the old days, when we’d have a year’s lead up to the change and 6 months support afterwards to make sure we were all ‘ok with it’.

    Nowadays we have big change on top of small change, work change coinciding with personal change, local change clashing with national change… no wonder we can get lost!

    The best model I have ever found for helping people cope with and embrace change comes from the change curve. Not the curve itself but the 3 transition stages that overlay it.

    Endings are the most important start to any change – if you don’t celebrate and recognise when something ends, you’ll never give yourself a chance to move on.

    I call the middle bit ‘chaos’ because that’s what it feels like. You alternate between feeling upbeat and positive, to negative and raging against the machine.

    But the end is in sight, in the form of Beginnings. Once you’ve moved (at your own pace!), through Endings and Chaos, you will reach the stage when it starts to feel…. ok, good even and you can see the benefits of the change, embracing it and moving onwards and upwards.

    This is a very personal journey as a colleagues and managers, we need to recognise we are all managing change in different ways but with the right support, we WILL get there…. 🙂


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