I’ve been reflecting on the myriad change projects I’ve been involved with, those dealing with internal transformation and those with external outcomes. During my reflection, I came upon two aspects that I feel were integral to the success of those projects.
The first, I call, Web vs. Parade. During my time at the World Bank, we went from an unfunded mandate with $0 to $60M in annual allocations in just two short years. How were we able to find such extreme results in so little time? We did not take the position of parade leader, enrolling people to get in the line we were leading. Instead, we played host to a web of people and organizations dealing with knowledge management. Internally and externally, the World Bank created an ecosystem of everyone who had a piece of the puzzle, connecting them and asking how the world could be better if the World Bank understood and was effective at knowledge management; this scaled our work exponentially.
The second aspect of successful change projects is meaningful interactions that create a cascade of value. At the World Bank, we met with critics, users, and those who had decided knowledge management was the bank’s future. This web made it possible for people to have conversations throughout our ecosystem. We harvested the value generated from those conversations, creating results. The web also allowed others to reap the value of those conversations. The cascade of value was tremendous, and knowledge management became the most effective way to get the bank’s desired outcomes.