icm2re logo. icm2:re (I Changed My Mind Reviewing Everything) is an 

ongoing web column edited and published by Brunella Longo

This column deals with some aspects of change management processes experienced almost in any industry impacted by the digital revolution: how to select, create, gather, manage, interpret, share data and information either because of internal and usually incremental scope - such learning, educational and re-engineering processes - or because of external forces, like mergers and acquisitions, restructuring goals, new regulations or disruptive technologies.

The title - I Changed My Mind Reviewing Everything - is a tribute to authors and scientists from different disciplinary fields that have illuminated my understanding of intentional change and decision making processes during the last thirty years, explaining how we think - or how we think about the way we think. The logo is a bit of a divertissement, from the latin divertere that means turn in separate ways.

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You said that!

About being a rutilant innovator and persistent learner

How to cite this article?
Longo, Brunella (2014). You said that! About being a rutilant innovator and persistent learner. icm2re [I Changed my Mind Reviewing Everything ISSN 2059-688X (Print)], 3.6 (June).

How to cite this article?
Longo, Brunella (2014). You said that! About being a rutilant innovator and persistent learner. icm2re [I Changed my Mind Reviewing Everything ISSN 2059-688X (Online)], 3.6 (June).

Ageing as an innovator brings in innumerable challenges but also a certain degree of satisfaction. I have seen how many ideas I shared with colleagues and clients have eventually triumphed, sometimes after few years, sometimes after a decade or more in spite of being held back or received with hostility at first.

What a surprise, for instance, to see curatorial and communication solution I invented more than twenty years ago, when they were considered almost unacceptable, to have become pretty common and adopted by innumerable museums and exhibitions. Or to read studies by Universities and Governments confirming strategies and projects’ directions I produced as advice to corporate customers ten years ago.

The same is true about influencing and shaping directions for professional communities, where new ideas are usually rejected at first with an excuse or another.

Here are three recent examples of successful incremental change I further discuss in my forthcoming book 99 STARS.

SITUATION:   In 2009 I wanted to build new relationships with professional communities whose standards 
I was familiar with, like project management, following my immigration in England from Italy.

TASK:   Overcome difficulties, distrust and foot-dragging attitude that were holding back my 
membership application with the Association for Project Management,  where my nationality,  gender,  
Prince2 Practitioner qualification and interest for governance aspects were seen with prejudice by some.

ACTION:  I was asked to provide evidence of my project management experiences. Two referees should 
send detailed information  by post and by fax.  I presented cases of programmes I had managed for 
Assocomunicazione (the Association of Italian Advertising Agencies) and Federfarma (the Federation of 
Associations of Italian Pharmacists).  These organisations were enough stable and staffed at the time,  in a 
period of intense economic and political tensions in Italy, to be bothered out of the blue with such for them 
very unusual practice and act as referees for a formal consultant now emigrant. I then joined the APM 
 Governance Special Interest Group, traditionally reluctant to have female members at that time, where I 
promoted an initiative about governance of innovation. 

RESULTS:  I was granted full membership status.  That did not fixed some cultural hostility and 
unfriendliness, but my initiative  about innovation and governance in project management raised attention
 towards cultural matters and led to more integration of diverse standards (like Prince2,  Agile) within the 
APM Body of Knowledge. 

SITUATION:  In 2009 I joined the Committee of a group of research librarians, part of CILIP (Chartered 
Institute of Librarians and Information Professionals) to see how to promote more project management 
methodologies in libraries. 

TASK:  I agreed to observe, facilitate or activate discussions through the group’s mailing list, hosted on a Jisc 
platform., and return some analysis and feedback about the volunteering engagement.  

ACTION:  After three months of active participation I shared a structured analysis of the messages 
exchanged online. This highlighted how contributions were quite rare and discussions almost non existent.  
My messages accounted for the 84% of the contents distributed. through the mailing list in the period 

RESULTS:   I suggested some reflections, also using simple, basic info-graphics tools (Wordle and 
Tagcrowd) showing how user generated contents can be misrepresented and distorted through automatic 
data categorisation.  My ideas were reused by Cilip, the LIS-Research Coalition (Napier University), private 
training and recruitment agencies like TFPL.  I published some further notes in 2011-2012, considering 
implications of data mining for copyright holders.  Initiatives like Copyright HUB and Audiam followed shortly.
Cilip started a reorganisation in 2011.  TFPL was acquired in 2013 to be merged with other businesses 
offering project management training.

SITUATION:   I joined the Governance Special Interest Group  of the Association for Project Management 
(APM) in 2009 and suggested an initiative I called Governance of the Innovation Edge.   The SIG approved 
the idea and we started an Innovation Project gathering immediate interest through social media. The 
initiative was taken over by senior members who feared my approach was too distant from the laissez-faire 
attitude and the so called consumerisation of IT trend prevalent in the creative industries at the time - and
favoured by major stakeholders. 

TASK:  I decided to propose a further initiative, a seminar, to raise awareness of specific information 
governance issues that are crucial for governance of projects in the digital economy and not necessarily in 
contrast with mainstream strategies.

ACTION:   The idea of a seminar was accepted and granted CPD status by the APM.  I proposed to study
the case of the NHS Information Governance Framework (IGF) - which became topical in the meantime, 
leading to decommissioning of the Summary Care Records project. I added references to recent research 
explaining the impact of price dynamics, hierarchies and networks on the complex nature of many public 
major projects.   

RESULTS:   The event was judged a terrific success, driving attention towards the unintended consequences
of unmanned data flows and the need for flexible, collaborative and sustainable project governance in 
digital environments.   

Influencing professional communities and innovating practices and behaviours among peers is not just a matter of brilliant ideas envisaged by creative people out of the blue. In the three examples I mentioned here I feel I have just put forward what seemed an obvious need of improvements but for lacking that sparkling courageous first step that leads to innovation - more women having a say in governance of project management, more project management skills for libraries and more information governance attitude in big public projects.

Change often needs the comfort of ordinary good management, the sensible obvious good decisions that are called by many as common sense and not at all the excruciating pain of sudden disruptions to the status quo for the sake of experimenting something new. It is true that both traditionalists and innovators cannot often distinguish between improvements and revolutions and it is often easy for many to see an innovation as obvious only when it has taken off.

Well, this is why consultants and experts exist. But it is also up to everybody to listen and think about new ideas and interpret and understand the spirit, not just the letter, of new proposals, to create and curate the environment in which positive developments occur (that is, or should be, the domain of policies and governance). It is not just by imitating gestures and postures or repeating headlines or copying successful statements or words that you can create growth, jobs, wealth or generate new opportunities.

There is no certainty of positive developments for your words just because you get lot of likes on Facebook or thousands of followers on Twitter.

Social contagion in itself, networking and viral strategies are not necessarily best practices to spread new ideas if the benefits of change are not seen and understood by a wide community of adopters.

That is why innumerable great innovations and inventions in society, in medicine and in science took decades, sometimes centuries, to be widely implemented or accepted.

Do not expect an acelleration of change just because it is evident you are anticipating successful trends in your sector or everybody is copying and flattering your narrative. Instead, change always pleases the rutilant innovator, persistent learner and incurable curious always when it seems that those golden eggs have been forgotten.