It’s often that we find the spells woven at IT service management (ITSM) conferences fade far too quickly and therefore we lose the momentum and reason for applying what we’ve learnt. It’s therefore important to look back after a number of weeks to see if what happened was worthwhile. Checking back in on that first rush of excitement and the pleasurable high that is felt when talking to people of like minds all eager to learn.

Winning with ITSM conferences

The equation is simple – when the level of interaction and engagement in an experience that we find enriching and rewarding diminishes, our motivation levels drop to a point of inertia. We seem to lose our inspiration. So, if you had a magic wand what would you do?

First and foremost, like the reason we take photographs, is to look back and remember the moments that brought us our greatest joy. The 2018 itSMF Slovakia conference was full of magic-making moments. The program mixed potions and spells that kept everyone entranced. There was much wand waving and knowledge sharing over the two days and after meeting many of the conference attendees, it appears that Slovakia has a bright future indeed.

Are you prepared for innovation?

My conference keynote kicked off with one of my favorite cocktails of “Transition to Innovation.”

When an industry looks towards the future, it can be somewhat like crystal ball gazing. However, it seems that Slovakians are ready to embrace their future by being inspired by their past.

The challenge for business of “evolve or die” is dependent on thinking differently and having the leadership that makes a difference. In my opinion, Slovakia is on the “watch out” list – and moving towards a knowledge-based economy overcomes the challenges ahead by having engaging talent and being clever where others get stuck.

The conference’s Harry Potter theme was well in force and very useful to describe the characteristics needed to move forward – whether the bravery and determination of Gryffindor; the wise, intelligent, and creative Ravenclaw; the multi-faceted background and dedication of Hufflepuff; or even Slytherin’s disregard for the rules (which has a touch of intelligent disobedience) that combined with their resourceful ambition rounds out a fairly powerful potion for making the transition. Questioning where you are helps you synchronize your vision so you gain clarity of context and find the gaps of understanding that show up other possible pathways.

Our world of ITSM is a bit like having a grimoire – secret edge paintings, invisible ink, but each company, for all that some spells are the same, switch ingredients to suit their unique environment. This is one of the reasons conferences are so enjoyable – we get to hear other speakers’ concepts, ideas, and magic ways (especially when the pixies get loose from the cage). It means we can become true mixologists – a pinch of this, a dash of that, and a good wand waving to weave the right spell.

Dealing with the opportunities of innovation

With the conference program we had a great source of wisdom and practical experience focusing on a wide variety of tools and techniques and case studies. From Cynefin Sense-Making to a Magician’s Manifesto and a dash of the dark arts to remove the spell of Obscuro.

Have a look at Susan Wojcicki’s, CEO of YouTube, Eight Pillars of Innovation and Guy Kawasaki’s TEDx talk on Art of Innovation. But even with these lessons, it takes leadership to make the difference. Not just the style but the inherent underlying beliefs and strengths that exist. A critical lesson is that: “It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends” ~ Albus Dumbledore

If you’ve consumed either of these, then you’ll know it’s not as easy as waving a wand or eating some magic sweets – as tempting as this might be! Innovation needs good leadership.

The clearer we are about what leadership means the more likely we are to improve our own skills to drive performance and get the best out of our people. Transitioning to an innovative way of being and thinking takes understanding the people you are counting on. Don’t confuse organizational structures and authority lines with communication and relationship lines – we need to design the way we work for engagement and enablement if we are to achieve performance success.

We need resilience, not resistance, to change

Create an innovative workforce based on resilience rather than resistance to change. As a good supporting start you can look to the ADKAR model and although it is usually used with traditional change management, it is adaptable to the dynamic environment needed for the digital era.

As we know, not all approaches to organizational change suit every situation so you might benefit greatly from dipping into a toolbox of techniques in Balanced Diversity – A Portfolio Approach by Karen Ferris.

What am I looking forward to hearing – both at and outside of conferences – in the future? That our industry leaders are instilling in their people a hope for success and a belief in themselves that can be backed up by facts and figures.

Returning to the theme of itSMF Slovakia, keeping our hopes and dreams alive is a key ingredient to making your ITSM innovation potion not only drinkable, but long-lasting!

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Senior Consultant at

Thought provoking, interesting and relevant, Simone probes the hearts and minds of what makes business and IT tick and enjoys jumpstarting people’s thinking to evolve behaviour and actions at any level. Senior Consultant, master trainer, author, podcast co-host and mentor in various frameworks such as ITIL, DevOps, Resilia, and KCS, Simone is a deeply experienced IT service management leader. You’ll find her actively engaged across social media sharing her 20+ years of experience in strategic and operational business design, development & transformation.

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