Is transformative change just another buzzword losing its buzz? Colin Sloman discusses how transformative change becomes more than just a phrase, but a reality.

In my days as a junior consultant, Buzzword Bingo proved to be a popular pastime during some particularly arduous business meetings. What was notable then, though, was that although some colleagues clearly had a penchant for using buzzwords, it was by no means certain that there would be a winner in every meeting.

Fast forward to today and it really does seem that the game could be over in an opening remark. Perhaps, "The accelerating rate of change of the new normal is forcing you to pivot to the metaverse."  BINGO! Or maybe, "The unprecedented rate of change is driving you to future-proof your organization through digital transformation." BINGO! Again.

The problem is that overuse of a particular phrase invariably results in its original meaning being watered down, often to the point of obscurity. Artificial intelligence is a case in point. It is a phrase now so overused that it can mean anything driven by analytics, even when those analytics may be underpinned by processes which are entirely manual.

And what about transformation? Now used to describe the implementation of any change, big or small, might it be the ultimate buzzword to have lost its buzz in recent years? My former colleagues and current Cognician client, Accenture, probably understand the concept of transformation better than most. They explain transformation as the process by which companies drive fundamental change, resulting in increased efficiency, greater business agility, and, ultimately, the unlocking of new value for employees, customers, and shareholders. These concepts of fundamental change, agility, and new value streams crop up time and again in definitions, but hand on heart, how many humbled connections on LinkedIn ‘transforming’ their organizations could truly tick each of these boxes?

Another common theme is that while many paths lead to transformation, in every case, starting that journey requires a new mindset. It is a cultural change that requires organizations to continually challenge the status quo, experiment, and get comfortable with failure. It is a chance to reimagine how to do things, to activate a workforce to think and act in new ways, often from the ground up, and for me this is where things start to get interesting.

At Cognician, we have seen first-hand that information alone doesn’t activate the behavior change necessary for successful transformation. To bring about real and lasting change, Cognician uniquely combines technology, behavioral science, and analytics to deliver measurable outcomes in as little as 20 days.

Our award-winning technology platform is built to activate behavior change in diverse, targeted groups across organizations and our programs can be scaled to serve even the largest cohorts, while still delivering personalized learning paths adapted to individual users.

At the same time, our comprehensive analytics and reporting tools enable clients to capture and track behavior change in real-time, allowing change leaders to track users’ progress, engagement, and insights and adjust programs to deliver maximum impact.

So … has the meaning of transformation become watered down and the phrase relegated to buzzword status? In my mind, undoubtedly so. But for those who are truly trying to enact transformative change, a key enabler, possibly THE key enabler, is behavior change. And where once that change might have been considered too challenging, too slow, or too complex, Cognician can help deliver it at scale and pace. 

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