Small Change


“The vis insita, or innate force of matter, is a power of resisting by which every body, as much as in it lies, endeavours to preserve its present state, whether it be of rest or of moving uniformly forward in a straight line.”

This is how Sir Isaac Newton described inertia, one of the fundamental principles of classical physics in 1687.

Similarly, inertia exists in every practice in your organization and these practices can only be changed when the forces driving change can overcome the inertial force inherent in them.

At it’s core transformation is about change. Lots of change. Done quickly.

Back at the intersection of culture and purpose we introduced the transformation team. This topic included discussion on barriers to, and the fear of change. Here’s another one to add to that list of barriers and contributors to fear: the sheer scope and pace of the changes in digital transformation.

It’s time to put your transformation team to work.


Big change is hard.

Small change is easy. Well, easier.

The barriers to small change are easier to overcome. In particular, they cost less, they are less likely to trigger fear and anxiety, and they are easier to identify.

Your transformation team is well placed to identify opportunities for small change. They were key members of the teams that defined your technology strategy, and they represent a broad cross section of your organization.

There are many, many formal methods you can use to identify inefficiency and opportunities for improvement. PDCA, Six Sigma, Lateral Thinking, VSM, Design Thinking. Just to name a few. If your organization is well practiced in one of these, you can apply it now, alternatively, described below is the M.A.G.E. methodology which can greatly simplify this process in a minimally prescriptive, people focused fashion.

Remember to focus on small change. Big change comes from many small changes. “every avalanche begins with the movement of a single snowflake…” (Thomas Frey)


map, assess, gather, execute


Map every human touchpoint with technology to your current technology solutions.

Identifying opportunities for positive technological change begins by first building an understanding of why and when people interact with technology, and what results they expect from it.


Assess the result of these interactions between people and technology.

Both objective, data based results, and opinions or emotions are all equally valid in this assessment. Investigate negative assessments, looking for root cause.


Gather possible solutions to the issues uncovered in the assessments.

Solutions can come from anywhere. Include a broad base of people and ideas when gathering solutions, and do not immediately discount anything.


Execute your preferred solution.

Implement solutions rapidly and non disruptively.

…assess again

Go back, and assess the interactions again.

people-centric change

Here we have used the MAGE approach to improve human interactions with technology. This is a deliberate people-centric, or human-centric approach to discover opportunities for improvement. Human-centric change meets less resistance, improves employee well-being, and is more likely to be perceived in a positive light.

insights & further reading

“70 percent of change programs fail to achieve their goals, largely due to employee resistance and lack of management support”1

“Human-centred design is an approach to interactive systems development that aims to make systems usable and useful by focusing on the users, their needs and requirements, and by applying human factors/ergonomics, usability knowledge, and techniques. This approach enhances effectiveness and efficiency, improves human well-being, user satisfaction, accessibility and sustainability; and counteracts possible adverse effects of use on human health, safety and performance”*2


Once again, put your transformation team to work. One org unit at a time.

Use your transformation team to coach org units on this approach to enacting small change.

Adopt the MAGE method to identify opportunities for change. The assess and gather stages require a human touch. Make a conspicuous effort to be broadly inclusive in these stages.

Choose solutions that align well with technology strategy. If this is not possible, execute anyway and revisit your technology strategy.

In this topic we have focused on identifying opportunities for people-centric small change in your internal processes and systems. In different circumstances, the same methodology can also be applied to both your customer facing product, and to system to system interactions.

Templates, presentations, and examples to facilitate this process are available in the methods & tools section.

methods & tools

Contact us to discuss your requirements and access this practical content and further in depth analysis.