The Attractions of ChangeWeaver: a new software tool…
ChangeWeaver is a new software tool designed by Integral Change to support change across complex systems – by simultaneously engaging people in fresh ways, and delivering breakthrough forms of tracking information and insight to leaders.
There are many reasons why you, as a change leader, might consider using ChangeWeaver. Here are some of them:-
1. You want to engage your staff more creatively and compellingly in questions about how a particular initiative is going, and where and why it is either succeeding or getting stuck. They’re fed up with ticking boxes and the canny ones game the whole process anyway.
2. You need more nuanced intelligence than that provided by the usual ‘pulse checks’ and ‘staff surveys’ – given the complexity of the situation and your increasing appreciation for how it is often the small, subtle and/or ‘outlier’ elements in such situations that matter.
3. You’d love your data to be continually updated, providing ‘real time’ insight to what’s going on and how things are shifting – for better or worse – perhaps in response to particular interventions.
4. You need to engage senior colleagues with more compelling information to get their engagement and support for your agenda – and the combination of qualitative ‘stories from the sharp end’ and attention-grabbing quantitative analysis provided by ChangeWeaver could work wonders.
5. You are fed up with paying expensive consultants to indulge in over-elaborate diagnostic processes – that tend to disempower both you and your people. You believe that there must be a more direct way to get to the nub of things and start a locally-ownedchange intervention process quicker, yet with appropriate sensitivity.
6. You are sceptical about most ‘culture change’ methodologies, but are attracted to the idea of using language already indigenous to your culture to support an organic ‘A to B’ shift in the organisation’s ways of thinking and behaving.
ChangeWeaver is a web-based interface (soon to be delivered as an App as well), via which individuals submit water-cooler anecdotes relating to ‘how things are working (or not) round here’. They then also interact with a variety of graphics and pictures – so illuminating the underlying meaning and intent of these stories (= ‘self-coding’).
The software then produces ‘heat-maps’, as well as the more standard graphs and pie-charts, revealing underlying views in relation to a set of key parameters derived from principle theories of change and operational excellence, as well as our experience as change consultants.
(These parameters can be customized, to create bespoke versions of ChangeWeaver, finessed to particular organisational change contexts.)
ChangeWeaver therefore provides change leaders with ongoing snapshots of how their organisation is moving in relation to desired outcomes and/or necessary capacities – but in a particularly engaging way, delivering unusually rich information, intended to enable immediate next steps, rather than the usual ‘analysis paralysis’.
Uniquely, the user-interface allows a ‘zooming in and out’ from the hard-data of the heat-maps etc., to the qualitative data of the stories informing them. This enables the formation of a very high-grain picture of what is really going on, so maximizing engagement.
* for further nuggets on the underlying theory behind some of this, see below
If you are a senior leader in a large, complex organization, you could ask to join our ‘cadre’ of intrepid piloters – committing to complete the experience and offer brief feedback in return for a free report showing trends among this peer-group and a f2f opportunity to experiment with the software’s data interrogation and analysis capabilities.
Otherwise, you might wish to consider commissioning a bespoke version of ChangeWeaver. This would involve our working together to come up with a set of interactive, story-coding graphics that integrate your leadership interest in particular parameters with our change expertise, such that the resulting tool delivers maximally powerful information back to you.
From here, there are many further opportunities to innovate. For example:-
- embed a bespoke version of ChangeWeaver in your intranet
- set up ‘shifts’ of employee journalists, who – for example – agree to submit on-line diary entries once a week/fortnight/month etc.
- offer key leaders App-based access to the heat-maps as they shift over time – and devise an innovative process to leverage the heightened engagement that results…
If you have any other ideas or requests, please do be in touch.
Postscript: some optional theory!
*3 reasons why ChangeWeaver is a breakthrough development
1. As this HBR blog post points out, many managers have yet to ‘embrace complexity’. However, they are becoming increasingly aware that the usual ‘expert/consultant-led’ responses to issues, mistakenly framed as ‘complicated’ rather than ‘complex’, are proving ever less satisfactory.
2. Once you’ve accepted the ‘complexity frame’, you need ways of thinking and seeing that are less categorical and more open, patterned and emergent. There’s plenty in the literature that points to ‘story’ as being one of the best ‘units of analysis’ in a complex environment – precisely because stories offer a more multi-layered and open-ended expression of what is actually present. Story capture and analysis sits at the core of ChangeWeaver – and is one possible response to former head of OD at Nokia, Ian Gee’s challenge to ‘Make the Soft Stuff Hard’.
3. Beyond the ‘breakthrough’ of enabling continuous, real-time feedback, ChangeWeaver delivers ‘patterned insights’ into what is going on; it offers ways of probing and experimenting – rather than definitive answers and ways of planning to the nth degree. Importantly, it includes ‘outlier’ data – revealing aspects of a system unlikely to be shown up by usual survey tools, but that could prove timely pointers to a critical risk (e.g. so-called ‘Black Swan’ events) or a hugely valuable potential innovation.