This is informal networks

Track Record

Siemens Energy IT Group

Identifying the ‘Movers and Shakers’

In one of the most advanced exercises using informal social networks, we surveyed over 1,000 employees of Siemens Energy’s global IT Group to identify potential future leaders, innovators, those with outstanding change energy and those with exceptional business judgement.

Having identified the limitations of current leadership and potential approaches to change, we named the top 5% of individuals who were likely to overcome these major problems in future.

We also described a practical ‘common sense’ cross-check of all the ‘top 5%’ names to ensure that those involved had no drawbacks outside the survey that might constrain them in their ambitious new roles.

To date, in early 2022, all 32 identified ‘Movers and Shakers’ have progressed through leadership development training and are thriving.

Saudi Ministry of Health

Increasing the number of change-positive influencers working on major change programmes

In 2019, we worked with GE Healthcare staff to significantly increase the number of real change agents (change-positive influencers) involved in a variety of change programmes across more than 150 hospitals in Saudi Arabia.

As part of this pilot assignment, we enhanced our proprietary informal social network analysis software to enable the online survey and the resulting outputs and network maps to be produced in Arabic.

We also included elements of our Networked Leadership Blueprint to guide GE Healthcare and Ministry of Health staff on the practical implementation of formal/informal change communication mechanisms to win widespread user support for ongoing change initiatives.


Achieving BS11000 certification

As part of a BS11000 (business partnering relationships) certification exercise, we carried out a series of interviews and collaboration/innovation surveys across VolkerRail, its contractor partners and main customers (Network Rail and Transport for Greater Manchester). The project assessed the quality of the collaborative partnerships engaged in by VolkerRail across the UK rail industry and the issues that needed to be addressed to improve collaboration with its partners.

Our analysis showed that collaborative relationships were very good overall and (not surprisingly) VolkerRail achieved BS11000 certification quite rapidly. In addition, the collaboration and innovation networks analyses provided a benchmark for VolkerRail to improve its collaborative and innovationnetworks even further.

“The network analyses you did made a major contribution to VolkerRail achieving BS11000 certification” David Moreland, Pre-contract Director, VolkerRail

Sussex Police

Integration of three different contact centres

Sussex Police integrated three contact centres operating at three locations into a central, multi-functional unit operating on a single site.

As a key part of their implementation, we identified change-positive and open-minded influencers across all centres to act as user representatives in the integration change programme. Through active involvement in change planning, training, communications and implementation, the influencers proved invaluable in achieving high levels of practical integration, on time and on budget.

Friends Provident

Profound culture change in less than a year

Friends Provident embarked on a radical change initiative to transform its relatively traditional IT department into an internal ‘commercial IT service’ that treated the Friends Provident business as its customer. This change required organisational, process and internal charging changes that were implemented efficiently over six months.

However, it was evident that a radical change was needed to the culture of the IT group – relationships with customers, the way that new processes were implemented in practice and, above all, the way that IT staff behaved in their day-to-day work. We led a nine-month programme of practical culture change, using ‘waves’ of managers and influencers to identify and then progressively ‘live’ and measure the new desired behaviours.

The end result was a profound and measurable change in ‘the way that we do things here’, with staff support for the move to commercial IT increasing from 20% to nearly 50% during year one, with another 30% nearly there. These culture changes were reflected in significantly improved customer satisfaction ratings and staff satisfaction increasing from 57% to 81%.

Gartner wrote a case study of the Friends Provident experiences and the Director of IT has prepared a video for us describing their experiences. The Friends Provident IT group won the Computer Weekly ‘Best place to work in IT’ award for IT in financial services.

“Their approach to managers and influencers helped us to make a major step towards a practical, commercial IT culture” – Andy Jackson, Director of IT, Friends Provident.


Organisational design for innovation

In the 2012 budget, the UK government committed to setting up a group of innovation ‘Catapults’ to catalyse innovation through collaboration across key areas that were important to the UK economy. The total investment was £1 billion over five years.

We undertook an innovative organisational design for the highly-effective Transport Catapult. The key elements drew on innovation teams with individuals from different transport-related organisations selected for their capabilities and their personal innovation networks. In addition, collaboration levels were monitored to enhance internal team working, inter-team working and interactions with key innovators in parent organisations. The ‘health’ of these networks was a key leading indicator of innovation success or failure

National Savings

100% productivity improvement over three years

The single biggest Private Finance Initiative (PFI) contract issued by the UK Government at the time involved a practical partnership between National Savings (investment assets £60billion) and Siemens Business Services (SBS) – part of the giant Siemens Group. Under this contract, SBS ran all administrative systems and processes for National Savings, including responsibility for 4,000 staff. The PFI sought to create a highly effective, automated and modern organisation that met the current and future needs of National Savings, whilst utilising surplus staff and a comprehensive IT/IS infrastructure to service new business clients. The technology included e-commerce, call centres and document scanning systems.

We were in charge of the people side of this massive change initiative, reporting into a member of the main SBS/NS Account Board. Part of this responsibility was to guide the extensive work on new organisation design, including all aspects of organisational structures, career progression, performance assessment and rewards. The work done represents the leading edge of change management, placing a strong emphasis on influencer identification and involvement – and is directly responsible for the smooth transition of Civil Servants into a highly competitive commercial business environment. Productivity improvements of more than 100% were achieved while more than 99% of key performance
indicators were met during the crucial transition period.

“The use of innovative, influencer-based techniques made a major contribution to gaining staff commitment during the change programme” – Julie Fisher, Pathfinder Change Manager, National Savings (BPO partner Siemens Business Services).

National Audit Office Report ‘PPP in practice: National Savings and Investments’ deal with SiemensBusiness Service (SBS) four years on’: “SBS has significantly increased productivity (more than 100%) without compulsory redundancies through reducing the number of staff transferred to it from 4,100 to some 2,000, although the volume of work has remained the same.”


35% productivity improvement using informal leaders

Xchanging Insurance Services entered into a business process outsourcing agreement to run the entire back office operations for Lloyds of London and the London Processing Centre.

An associated major change programme led to productivity improvements of more than 35% across operational areas in less than 6 months. The use of influencers in the new operations management / supervisory team and for informal / formal communications led to staff support levels for change bouncing back to a higher level than they were 6 months previously. It also led to profits jumping from zero to £10 million+ in the first financial year of the new operation. Within 18 months, three domestic and international contracts had been won to run different aspects of insurance transaction processing. Key performance indicators were consistently met during the transition period.

“They used influencers to successfully implement really difficult changes without starting World War 3″ – David White, IT Director, Xchanging Insurance Services (BPO supplier for Lloyds of London).

Nationwide Building Society

Massive IT programme on time and on budget

As part of a major IT infrastructure and application systems implementation exercise, we prepared management of change strategy and established practical management of change framework for implementing more than £130 million of new IT facilities that enabled new ways of working – through e-commerce, call centres and branches. This involved working with Siemens Business Services, responsible for overall project management, on all aspects of the change process including communications, training and gaining the commitment of influencers throughout the organisation.

This implementation was so successful that Nationwide agreed to the publication of a case study of the assignment by the Wentworth/Gartner Group to illustrate “best practice in managing a major change project”.

“We had an opportunity to compare nominated representatives with identified influencers during the implementation process. Overwhelmingly, influencers were the key to success” – Tim Pink, Management of Change Manager, TITAN Change Programme, Nationwide.

Developing the INL Networked Leadership Blueprint – The INL Networked Leadership Blueprint is a practical and comprehensive blueprint based on 10 years of development. It shows how to create highly efficient, innovative and resilient organisations by recognising the realities of informal work networks and the crucial importance of emergent leadership at all levels.

The Informal Networks team is one of the few in the world with extensive experience in using informal social network analyses to implement major business changes while maximising collaboration between formal and informal leaders in large and medium-sized organisations.

Clients can test the Blueprint with specific change initiatives before progressively moving on to more ambitious organisational designs for resolving many of the endemic people-related problems that constrain businesses today.

Liverpool City Council

Transformational change improves productivity by 30%

Liverpool City Council and BT entered into a joint venture BPO agreement resulting in Liverpool Direct running many of the administrative operations of Liverpool City Council, including Revenues and Benefits, IT and HR.

Influencers at all levels across the organisation were identified and used to drive the change communications – both formal and informal – during the critical transition period. The new Liverpool Direct call centre subsequently won awards for its performance. The highly automated HR operation has been visited by professionals from the public and private sectors. ‘Customer’ satisfaction ratings increased significantly. (The project was cited in the Gershon Report as an example of successful technology-driven change).

“The identification of influencers was both quick and painless and produced the additional benefit of allowing the programme to move forward without a single staff or union objection.

Having worked with many change methods, my judgement is that this Influencer Technique is both comprehensive and very impressive in managing business change” – Neil Grogan, Business Change Manager, Liverpool Direct Limited (Liverpool City Council/BT joint venture).

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