Like all significant change activity, many artwork improvement programmes commence, but not all are successful.
We have learnt many lessons from our involvement in numerous labelling and artwork improvement projects that we believe are key to ensuring success. In the last article we looked at the importance of recruiting and maintaining active sponsorship for labelling and artwork change activities. In this article we will discuss the topic of developing a compelling vision which is agreed across the organisation.
Key Learning 3: Vision – Collaboratively develop your vision involving all relevant stakeholder groups
Good business change management practice tells us that, in order to maximise the chances of successful adoption of any change, we should involve those impacted by the change in designing the future state. Given that labeling and artwork processes are, by their nature, very cross functional, cross-organisational and global, in our experience developing a vision of the future in a collaborative way is critical to success. We have seen a number of change programs have significant difficulty or even fail outright because they did not perform this fundamental step in a collaborative way.
It is all too easy for the labeling and artwork subject matter experts to fall into the trap of believing they have all the answers and that it is just a matter of telling the rest of the organisation how they should do things. After all they would argue, it is only logical that they know how best to do things as they are the subject-matter experts. Unfortunately, this completely misses the key point that implementing any change is at least as much about changing the “hearts and minds” of those impacted, as it is about getting the technically ideal solution. In fact, we would go so far as to say it is much more effective to have a sub-optimal technical solution that everyone buys into, rather than to have a technically perfect solution that is never effectively implemented.
Other significant benefit of developing the future state design with representatives from across the impacted stakeholder groups are:
- Issues and resistance to the change are surfaced early and can more easily be dealt with at the design stage
- A more robust solution is more likely to be developed that deals with all of the local realities effectively
So we would recommend identifying a suitable cross-functions, cross-geographic and cross-organisation team to be involved in a well-managed and facilitated collaborative design development process. This team must be recognised by the organisation as representing them for this to be successful. This type of collaborative design process takes time and commitment from the organisation, so needs to be built in to plans and budgets accordingly.
Furthermore, the collaborative design process should include all elements of the potential change and would typically cover:
- Tools & IT systems
Have you got experience, good or bad, of developing future state designs and how they were subsequently implemented? If so, share your thoughts here.
To help you in your Artwork Improvement Program, you can also find useful information in my book Developing and Sustaining Excellent Packaging Labelling and Artwork Capabilities
Should you have any questions about this or any other of my blogs, or would simply like to request a copy of my booklets, please don’t hesitate to contact me directly on my email.