FEED Autumn 2022 Web

INNOVATION NEEDS THE HUMAN FACTOR No matter how good the strategy may be, you have to bring people along if you’re going to succeed

ith all our focus on the power of technology, the human factor can

strategy needs to see not only what the goal is, but how they can contribute to it. A good vision will not just give direction, but also engage people’s imaginations. Deeper than this, communication with stakeholders must be clear at every stage. Creating awareness is the first step, says Kaiser. Once the change is understood intellectually, you can begin fostering desire for it. People will embrace change not because they are told to, but because they want to. Your workforce needs to feel how it will benefit from a fresh methodology. Alongside awareness and desire, people need training and skills. One of the most important elements in adopting a habit is practice. And a valuable step in change management is to show early on how the change will be effective. If a tool is brought into the business, the team needs to engage with it and experience its positive effects. Promising something will help the business cannot compete with practical experience.


be lost. But no matter the innovation, companies need to consider how fellow human beings – from staff to customers – will engage with it. “Most changes don’t fail due to the technological side; they fail because of the human one,“ says Professor Markus Kaiser, specialist in change management and consultant for media tech providers like CGI. “Because people don’t understand why they should work in a new way, or what the vision of the company is, many changes break down – and much money is spent. That is why some large European public broadcasters have invested 30- 40% of their budget on staff training when implementing a CGI newsroom solution.” Change management has become part of many companies’ internal processes, but it’s rare for it to be given enough careful attention to enable the best outcomes. Starting with a clear, transparent vision is essential. Everyone involved in the SINCE PEOPLE DON’T UNDERSTAND WHY THEY SHOULD WORK IN A NEW WAY, OR WHAT THE VISION OF THE COMPANY IS, MANY CHANGES BREAK DOWN


“The internet is important – you can do town halls – but also think about participation opportunities. Get ideas from people, tell them what is going on and create awareness,” asserts Kaiser. Communication tools like VR could be a great way for teams to engage with prototypes in a collaborative, real-time way. Opportunities like these can turn passive information sharing to active participation. “If you’re reinventing a newsroom, for example,” he continues, “you could use smart glasses for a low-cost VR experience. People can see if a certain arrangement is a good idea or not. In other industries, it’s common to create an experience like this before you build something.” Change is hard for most. And there are big shifts on the horizon – in society and tech. In the media space, increased adoption of AI is one anxiety-producing element threatening how we work. “It can be strange for journalists to rely on fact-checking AI. You have to say: ‘You are not worth less now. This is a different job, but still very important. It’s a new way of working.’”

KEY COMMUNICATION Talking to people is absolutely crucial, too. The entire team needs to see where the company is heading – and collaborate on getting to

that destination. Don’t leave them in the cold. Without support, they are likely to simply return to the old ways.


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