Are you beginning to feel hazy on the difference a "innovation" and "transformation?" You're not alone. With so much hype around these terms they can start to lose their meaning, and even seasoned leaders can get confused trying to make a plan. Amid the noise, however, exist powerful examples. This article, "How to Lead a Successful Transformation," written for Policy & Practice magazine by LNW executive director Antonio Oftelie, explores the difference between innovation and transformation, and delves into a model leaders follow for success.
One of Abraham Lincoln’s last acts was to establish The Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands. The Freedmen’s Bureau, which it was commonly called, was charged with a vast array of social, medical, legal, and educational services for 4 million emancipated slaves .
Despite the unending demands, unfunded mandates, unwieldy administration, and unrelenting opposition from entrenched interests, the Freedmen’s Bureau racked up great results. Over its seven- year run, the organization treated half a million patients, distributed 21 million rations, made loans for thousands of businesses, built more than 1,000 schools in the South, and educated more than 150,000 children. Perhaps most importantly, the Freedmen’s Bureau paved the way for the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.
Matrix Human Services, a non-profit human services provider led by Dr. Marcella Wilson, set out to create and implement a national model of care without new legislation or policy change. This model would be scalable, sustainable, measurable and integrated into existing funding streams across various silos. It would unite systems and provide holistic services that would help clients achieve self-sufficiency.
During the last 50 years, Spain built one of the most successful welfare systems in the world. Highly regarded by its citizens, the system offered top-quality health services, support for workers who had lost their jobs and free, compulsory education. Fast-forward to 2008 and the economic crisis. Suddenly there was a dramatic imbalance in the system. With unemployment levels around 26 percent, an aging population, greater demands on the pension system and severe banking issues, this successful model was put at risk.
For a number of years San Diego County’s Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) has found a way to offer services “from womb to tomb,” while addressing rising healthcare costs, surging social services demands, and an increasing prevalence of chronic disease. The burden is significant: The agency serves more than 750,000 people annually.
Leadership for a Networked World’s applied research, student innovation challenge, and on-campus summit programs are an initiative of Dr. Antonio M. Oftelie, Innovation Fellow at the Technology and Entrepreneurship Center at Harvard (TECH), part of the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. TECH is a hub for students, faculty, alumni, and government and industry leaders to learn together, collaborate, and innovate. LNW accelerates these efforts by connecting leaders across sectors and developing cutting-edge thought leadership on innovation and organizational transformation.