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Optimizing Innovation Initiatives by Artfully Managing Change

Lori Pon, Director, Claim Contact Center and Claim Handling Unit at AAA-the Auto Club Group

Lori Pon, Director, Claim Contact Center and Claim Handling Unit at AAA-the Auto Club Group

The importance of organizational change management in maximizing success of your transformation initiatives cannot be underestimated. When innovation augments traditional ways of working, it is vital to develop action plans to ensure business readiness and measure business value. Assessing impacted communicates and engaging stakeholders early and often is the key to anticipating and planning change management activities to ensure seamless implementation and proactive adoption.

Artfully orchestrating your organizational change management approach to innovation initiatives begins with level setting expectations with key stakeholders and identifying areas of the business that will be impacted by the change. Engaging business stakeholders from project onset through implementation allows the business readiness team to anticipate the level of receptivity from impacted communities and tailor strategies to ensure success.  Understanding potential resistance to change is key to identifying the best approach to address and overcome these obstacles.

Engaging stakeholders from project onset through implementation helps establish collaboration and confidence that the voice of the customer, both internal and external, will be represented in the solution. With the Great Resignation at hand and companies grappling with attracting and retain talent, it is of utmost importance to provide best in class tools that deliver effortless experiences to both customers and internal employees.

To ensure the voice of the customer is represented in development, we have engaged stakeholders throughout the innovation lifecycle. The business team is heavily involved in identifying business requirements, design thinking sessions, creating user stories and executing user acceptance testing scripts. We have also partnered with line of business representatives in proof of value and proof of concept projects. We frequently soft launch technology, when feasible, to evaluate the technology in a controlled setting and help solidify organizational change management action plans. In many instances, we are able to tweak development with this early voice of the customer feedback to maximize success once the initiative is rolled out to a larger audience.

"Understanding potential resistance to change is key to identifying the best approach to address and overcome these obstacles"

Even though it may be tempting to ‘set it and forget it’, it is also critical to measure the success of innovation initiatives post go live by developing business intelligence to measure if initiatives are driving expected improvements in key performance indicators. We have developed dashboards to measure internal and external customer usage and provide operational leadership with key information to improve overall adoption. We have conducted rose bud thorn retrospective exercises to gain user feedback. Engaging stakeholders in these retrospective feedback sessions has proved invaluable in assessing wins and accomplishments, losses and challenges and opportunities for future improvement.Our end user communities have responded enthusiastically in being involved throughout thedevelopment lifecycle, and this engagement has helped build trust and support of our innovation initiatives.

A well informed organizational change management strategy will help anticipate potential resistance to change or friction points that require special focus and planning to ensure a smooth transition to a new process or way of working. Proactive involvement of stakeholders across the value chain early on and throughout the project lifecycle will help ensure preparedness, commitment and trust.

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