Insights · November 23rd, 2009

In mid-October 2009 I gave a closing keynote speech to the 2009 Institute for Oral Health conference on defining quality. They had asked me to address the question of how one goes about promoting systems change. The podcast of my talk is now available here.

To provide some insight on making systems change, I went back to the well of my days directing a program in Whole Systems Design, and to the material on managing change that we incorporate into our work in long-range strategic planning. Systems so resist being changed, and there is a formula that helps one to understand how to overcome this resistance. The formula is: D x V + a > R.

That is, Dissatisfaction, times Vision, plus action must be greater than Resistance before systems change can begin. If a system resists change, and they generally do, one can increase dissatisfaction, for example by pointing out the consequences of not changing. Or one can develop and communicate a compelling vision that is so attractive that people want to move toward it. And, one can couple that with clear winning steps or actions. Of course a combination of all three are usually necessary to overcome the inertia caused by resistance.

Nikolas Badminton – Chief Futurist

Nikolas Badminton

Nikolas is the Chief Futurist of the Futurist Think Tank. He is world-renowned futurist speaker, a Fellow of The RSA, and has worked with over 300 of the world’s most impactful companies to establish strategic foresight capabilities, identify trends shaping our world, help anticipate unforeseen risks, and design equitable futures for all. In his new book – ‘Facing Our Futures’ – he challenges short-term thinking and provides executives and organizations with the foundations for futures design and the tools to ignite curiosity, create a framework for futures exploration, and shift their mindset from what is to WHAT IF…

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