Earlier this October, the very first Transformative Impact event took place both on-site in Pikku-Finlandia, Helsinki, and virtually online. At the heart of Transformative Impact was the mission to bring together hundreds of transformation leaders, visionaries, and change-makers, igniting a spark of inspiration. The goal was to dive deep into the theme of human-centric transformation through keynotes, customer success stories, and an engaging panel discussion.
In this blog post, we’ll unpack the key highlights of the first half of Transformative Impact 2023. Let’s dive in.
Michael Leckie – The power of conversational transformation
The Transformative Impact event was kicked off by author Michael Leckie‘s insightful keynote, highlighting the importance of conversations in driving change.
Here are key takeaways from Michael’s presentation:
“Good questions asked from a real place of curiosity can be one of the most powerful tools to drive transformation.”
Curiosity as a catalyst for change: Genuine curiosity and good questions are one of the most powerful tools for driving transformation.
Technology as an enabler, not the driver: Technology itself doesn’t bring about transformation. Instead, the individuals who adopt and implement technology truly drive change.
Three building blocks of transformation: Technology, culture, and regulatory environment must fall into place for transformation to succeed. While technology comes right away, cultural and regulatory shifts take time. Without all three in harmony, true transformation remains elusive.
The power of conversational transformation: Conversation has a crucial role in effecting change. Conversation is the glue that binds technology, culture, and regulations into a transformative force. Encouraging a culture of curiosity and questions is essential in nurturing this environment.
Change as a skill, not a process: Change is not merely a process that needs to be followed. Instead, change is a capability that organizations and society must actively cultivate. Asking the right questions is the foundation of this capability.
3 key questions to ask when embarking on a transformation journey:
Say more: Encourage conversation by starting with curiosity-driven questions. What do YOU think? Engage curiosity by seeking input and perspectives from others. What are you GOING to do? Activate curiosity by propelling action and tangible steps toward change.
Katri Piirtola – How to succeed in large-scale transformations
KONE‘s Senior Vice President Katri Piirtola‘s presentation, “How to succeed in large-scale transformations,” offered great insights into the dynamics of change within a large organization. Here are the key takeaways from Katri’s presentation:
“With transformation, the key is to figure out how to ensure a safe space where people can be themselves, where they can bring in new ideas and different views, and also, where they can test and fail.”
Strategy as the North Star: Strategy has a critical role in guiding transformation. A well–defined strategy serves as a compass, offering direction and purpose in times of change. At KONE, strategy is more than a document; it’s a living, breathing framework that informs daily decisions and actions.
Psychological safety: Psychological safety is a vital component of transformation. For KONE it has been important to provide people with a space where individuals can be themselves, express new ideas, test, and even fail is essential for successful change initiatives.
Transformation as a deep culture shift: At KONE, transformation isn’t just about strategy or guidelines on a wall; it penetrates an organization’s culture and work practices. It influences what is valued, how teams operate, and what are the driving forces behind progress.
Steering large-scale transformation: Leading large-scale transformation can be compared to maneuvering a large cruise ship. Large organizations, like KONE, require commitment and effective communication to change direction. Smaller teams can adapt more swiftly, but in vast organizations, inspiring commitment across the board is a unique challenge.
The power of dialogue: Fostering a culture of dialogue is important for success. Even in the face of challenges like the pandemic, utilizing digital means to engage and involve people in strategy creation was crucial. In KONE’s case, the dialogue has not only brought insights but also facilitated an agile understanding of direction and plans.
The triad of strategy, culture, and ways of operating: One of the learnings at KONE has been that for large-scale transformation to succeed, there needs to be an interplay between strategy, culture, and ways of operating within an organization. The relationship of these three forms the basis for transformation success. Leadership sits at the core of this dynamic, making it the recipe for success.
Kati Järvinen – Transforming Wärtsilä Energy: Making success a habit
In her presentation, “Transforming Wärtsilä Energy: Making Success a Habit”, Kati Järvinen, Talent Development Lead at Wärtsilä Energy, shared some great learnings from Wärtsilä’s transformation journey.
“Believe in people, believe in the purpose and the passion, but first and foremost, believe in yourself and that you are able to make an impact.”
Inviting people along the journey: For Wärtsilä it has been important to include people in the transformation journey. It’s crucial to convey that they are integral to the bigger picture and that transformation is always a collective effort.
Facilitating change through collaboration: In Wärtsilä’s case, leaders have have an important role as facilitators in supporting individuals to comprehend the changes happening around them. Engaging senior leaders, project planners, and change agents globally, alongside a feedback system, ensure a collaborative approach.
Engaging people in sense-making conversations: It’s vital to engage people in sense-making conversations. Rather than imposing change from a management perspective, Wärtsilä has involved employees in discussions about what they need to change, what tools and support they require, and how they can achieve their new goals.
Linking change to daily work: At Wärtsilä, successful change is linked to the tasks people perform daily. Moreover, it’s crucial to integrate transformation into annual goal-setting processes and competence mapping to support the transition.
Long-term change takes patience and persistence: One of the key learnings for Wärtsilä has been that long-term change unfolds gradually. During challenging phases, it’s crucial to have feedback mechanisms in place to understand how individuals are experiencing transformation. Recognizing silent change champions and addressing problem areas are key.
Believe in people and purpose: It’s important to believe in people, their passion, and their ability to make an impact. Leaders should act as role models and inspiration for others in the change process.
Ilkka Mäkitalo – Engaging people for transformational success
Next up was Howspace CEO and Co-founder Ilkka Mäkitalo‘s fireside chat, where he explored the important role of technology, as well as the nuances between change and transformation, offering key insights for navigating complex organizational shifts.
“We need structured, well-designed processes where people feel that they know what is happening and what is their role in all this.”
A passion-driven journey: With almost three decades of experience as a consultant, trainer, and facilitator, Mäkitalo’s journey began not as a typical startup but as a passion to create more impact. Utilizing technology as an enabler, Howspace’s journey started about 12 years ago, striving to unite people at scale for meaningful change.
Transformation vs. change: Mäkitalo distinguishes between change and transformation, viewing the latter as a process that involves navigating through uncertainty, learning along the way, and embracing experiments. The key lies in creating an authentic journey where everyone feels heard, appreciated, and part of the transformation.
The Cynefin framework: It’s important that there is a common framework to get started with. The Cynefin framework categorizes situations into four domains: Obvious, Complicated, Complex, and Chaotic. Understanding which domain a situation falls into is crucial for effective collaboration and problem-solving.
Complexity and continuous transformation: Organizations face a lot of challenges dealing with complex systems. In a constantly changing world, managing tolerance, embracing uncertainty, and maintaining a sense of direction are essential. Success in transformation demands collective motivation, knowledge, and experience.
Howspace’s role in complexity: Howspace addresses the needs of complex environments by providing structured, well-designed processes. It enables real-time, synchronous, and asynchronous sense-making, leveraging AI to enhance understanding. Howspace serves as the bridge between ‘why’ and ‘what’, emphasizing the importance of a clear purpose before execution.
The role of transformation design: Mäkitalo introduced the concept of a “transformation designer”, emphasizing the importance of crafting the organizational change process like a narrative. He further highlighted the significance of authentic curiosity and responsive leadership in engaging people effectively in transformation.
In part one of the Transformative Impact event recap, we delved into key themes like conversation and curiosity driving transformation, strategies for success in large-scale, long-term transformations, and leveraging technology for engagement and sense-making.
In the second part, we’ll cover an enlightening panel discussion on “From Engaged Employees to Profit: The Heart & ROI of Business Transformations,” a presentation on sustainability in transformation, and an in-depth look at Howspace’s product roadmap. Stay tuned!
Did you miss the live event? No worries! Catch the recording and dive into the discussions here.