Innovation swamps as the epicenter of transformation in organizations

Silveyra, G., Segarra, L., Morales, A., & Muñiz, E. (2020).

The world has changed drastically and the way in which business was done does not necessarily continue in this new reality that we face today since the arrival of the pandemic. Despite the fact that this new reality has affected industries in different proportions and magnitudes, many of them are reinventing themselves either to survive or to transform completely. One of the ways that organizations can do it is through the people who make it up, that is, human capital. Today more than ever, organizations need agents of change who, through their actions, trigger a transformation in the behavior of other people, as well as a positive impact on their community and in different latitudes around the world.

It requires individuals who, being dissatisfied with the current reality, take the risk of proposing new ways of doing things, by visualizing possibilities that do not yet exist despite the uncertainty that surrounds them. In other words, organizations that emerge ahead of the current situation require entrepreneurial leaders who invite others to dream big, inspiring with their vision of how they could improve their environment, through their ideas, energies, resources and capabilities.

Having agents of change opens up to corporations the possibility of anticipating the future and generating the innovations that our country and the world need. Without a doubt, corporations have understood that one of the ways to change their reality and reinvent themselves is to broaden the mindset of their work teams, which implies reformulating the conception of the future. Stop seeing it as an end and conceive it as a means to explore diverse and probable scenarios. In this way, the challenge of the work teams within the corporations is to imagine possible future scenarios to explore them, and from them bring to the present actions that allow to adapt and reinvent themselves in the face of this new reality.

However, generating such future alternatives and empowering agents of change is an innovation challenge in itself, since some organizations have highly bureaucratic processes and complex structures that prevent or encourage the emergence of new initiatives. Faced with the need for greater dynamism to face the challenges of the environment, the new leaderships within the corporations can cultivate tribes, that is, people with whom they share interests, concerns, but above all, this transformative momentum. For this reason, the tribes made up of agents of change play a leading role, especially in crises, since their mental structure allows them to propose probable as well as possible futures, which implies having a wide range of projects: from the most conventional to the most disruptive. This, forces the organization to break paradigms of its current work and prepares it with new capacities to overcome the restrictions and therefore change its reality. Thus, carrying out an exploration of possibilities and re-connection with reality allows corporations to generate innovation.

Finally, organizations can foster tribes as a strategy to spark innovation. This is because tribes are propitious communities for the generation and exchange of knowledge since they have been cultivated through narratives and experiences that people exchange with each other. This opens the possibility of the emergence of innovation swamps which can be understood as complex networks of people and creative communities that interact and connect significantly, causing a conducive environment that attracts extremely diverse agents of change capable of provoking innovations, which occurs through an extreme democratization process for the development of common languages. Therefore, swamps are spaces of flows in the form of people, capital, information, technology, images, sounds, symbols and realities. Thanks to these organic processes of change that are caused by swamps, organizations will be able to take on the transformation challenges that the future holds.