Monday, September 08, 2008

BEVIA

One of Malcolm Deleo's first posts on his new blog is about his concept of BEVIA: Believe, Experiment, Validate, Integrate, and Adapt. I am very excited he has finally put pen to paper (er, hand to keyboard?) to share this idea with the world because it's truly insightful.

BEVIA is a model of process and organizational innovation. At it's core, the BEVIA model recognizes that people do not change all at once, most of the time. To adopt a change, each person and the organization as a whole must go through a process beginning with Believing that the change is the right thing to do. From there the change spreads as it's tested (Experiment & Validate). In the final stage, the idea is Integrated and the organization Adapts to the change.

I can't emphasize enough how this change takes place at multiple levels in an organization. If you lead one department through the phases of BEVIA, it doesn't mean the whole organization has gone through BEVIA. If one department has been successful in adopting a change, it could help accelerate the process for another department, but don't assume it. And, as Malcolm points out, it's important to recognize that each person goes through the phases of BEVIA too.

I think when people talk about organizational change being hard and time consuming, it may be that BEVIA helps us model what's actually making it so slow. Consider the Believe phase, for instance. Individual people may Believe quickly, but if one person takes longer, that can make it harder to get to the Experiment phase. While they're waiting for the organization to unanimously Believe, some people who originally believed may begin to doubt as a result of the lack of progress. Then they have to be re-sold on the idea. While they're being re-sold, the new believers might begin to doubt again. Thus ideas can bounce around among members of an organization for a long time before enough people Believe for it to advance to the next phase in BEVIA. Maybe that's what makes organizational change seem so slow.

I wish I had known about BEVIA when I proposed the Open Innovation Blueprint because it adds some critical missing pieces to a plan to implement organizational change.

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