SWIM and innovation: The orchestra that failed to float

  • SWIM is a model that recognises the role of people and the true impact of innovation.
  • It is a four-step process with each step consisting of an action and an expression element.
  • The importance of allowing expression at each stage cannot be underestimated.

Innovation can be hard, but without taking people on the journey it is impossible. Fortunately, the way humans think and behave is relatively predictable. While redefining processes and ways of working is important, to make innovation work you must take people for a SWIM (social identity, winning, interpersonal connections, mastery).

  1. Create or consolidate a social identity, and create a safe place to express feelings (often created from a loss of old identities).
  2. Clarify how the group will win, and loudly celebrate the small wins that confirm the strategy.
  3. Encourage people to form new interpersonal connections and relevant networks, and support the creation of those networks.
  4. Create opportunities for people to become masters, and recognise individual mastery.

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