book review: How To Change the World


How to change the World - J.Appelo

I’ve just finished reading the excellent e-book “How to change the World” from Jurgen Appelo and I’d like to share some condensed thoughts about it here.

The book is about change management, starting from a simple question:

Don’t you like the environment you work within?

the author offers you a series of tools to help change the environment we work within.

It’s NOT easy, nor simple: you have to deal with Complex Adaptive System, made by people (=not pure rational behaviour involved).

Appelo suggests to use four framework for each aspect involved:

PDCA (system)

It’s a simple iterative improvement process based on scientific method:

More info here.

ADKAR (people)

People take a crucial role in every organization, so deal carefully with them. Appelo proposes a goal oriented model (ADKAR):

More info here.

Adoption Curve (network)

Generally changes start from a small group of supporters that grow by the time (we do hope). When such group reaches a critical mass, the change start to self-reinforce. The bell-shaped adoption curve is composed by several “categories” of people:

(4+1) I’s (environment)

Environment constraints and influences how people behave. Starting from this assumption we can tweak the environment in order to favor people to change behaviour. Here the author present the 4 I’s model (proposed by van Vugt) augmented with another I:

As you can see is a lot of material, a lot of “starting points” from where you learn and improve a lot, but the book is short and easy to follow. If you are/would-be a change agent have good luck because the journey is not easy!

Personally I’ve found it really useful also in retrospecting past change processes where things didn’t work as expected. Now I can see the past with different eyes and improve future change programs.


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