Even if you know what your customers want now, how do you know what they will want tomorrow? How can business leaders plan for business continuity in the face of a volatile, unpredictable global climate frequently rocked by disruptive tech and the sudden appearance of competitors from unexpected quarters?

Innovation360 has identified are three levels of change management essential for creating a culture of innovation. The first is aimed at the macro/micro-scale of environmental volatility, using a management model invented by Magnus Penker called UPACS (Uncertainty, Paradoxes, Ambiguity, Complexity, and Speed). The second recognizes all of the organization’s internal forces, including preparing and motivating stakeholders to handle the reality of radical innovation. The third is concerned with micro-level of developing stronger innovation skills within project teams.

Introduction to UPACS

UPACS starts with the understanding that an organization is not a monolith. It consists of interconnected sets of humans who operate under a broad range of perceptions, aspirations, and abilities. This assumption must be stated and reinforced because it is too often forgotten in the simplification of change management plans. If you start from a clear layout of the nature of your organization and your people, you can more realistically assess strengths and weakness in implementing change.

The Roles of Leadership and Team Aspirations

Leadership using UPACS can be highly demanding because it calls for the simultaneous deployment of team abilities and coordinating shared aspirations of the change agents. Aspirations have often served as the engine of a successful transformation process.

In the final analysis, all change is about people – not technology and not market value. People work within a social contract defined by group values and they depend on their assets like tangible technology and intangible processes. What motivates people to change is an evolution in thinking about their environment and their aspirations for the team.

UPACS is a formalized system for unpacking the team’s essential motivations and stressors. The success of change projects is directly related to how leaders manage these aspirations and shape them into new operating norms. Impact factors on the change team include not just the actions of leadership, though, but also the prevailing culture, organization, roles, incentives, talent management, and so on.

Learn more about specific case studies, including how UPACS helped a recruiting and staffing company overcome years of failed digitization initiatives, in Innovation360’s new book Sustainable Growth and Profits, the final volume of the Complete Guide to Business Innovation.