Barriers to change and overcoming them: a seven-year-long research project

20180916_052311.jpgHave you ever wondered why some change programmes – for example developing new services – are easily implemented and some are difficult to even get started or they fail?
….or why the same type of development initiative runs smoothly in one organisation and not so well in another, so that it has to be abandoned?
…or why one change agent or change team can implement changes easily but another is struggling?
….or one organisation embraces change, and another resists change?
During my 30 years of work experience in the service industry it has always intrigued me why good innovative ideas for new or improved services were not developed further i.e. implemented, even though the new service would have had social, economic or environmental benefits.
This issue drove me to start a seven-year-long PhD research journey inquiring into the question:
What are the barriers to New Service Development (NSD)?
and
How can these barriers be overcome?
…and more detailed questions.…
What strategies can be applied to overcome these barriers?
In what instances should these strategies be applied?
How can we as individuals and organisations learn from these development initiatives, so that we don’t make the same mistakes over and over again?
Can we perhaps build “barrier overcoming capabilities”?
As part of an extensive action research programme carried out over many years, in collaboration with many people and teams, designing and implementing a range of new services, a model for managing the development of new services was created.
I will tell the story of this journey and the evolution of the model over the coming weeks.

Biography

Katrin Dreyer-Gibney
Dr. Katrin Dreyer-Gibney, Service Operations Scholar and Manager, Passionate Powerlifter

My research and development interests are focused on improving practice and advancing theory in service operations, through participatory methodologies of collaborative action learning, action research and action oriented leadership. For over 30 years I held leadership roles in the service industry, in higher education, shared services, publishing, health services, retail and the hospitality industry. Throughout my career I combined academic engagement with practice.
To improve practice and advance theory in service operations, innovation and development I completed my PhD in business and service operations through insider action research methodology. Before that, I accomplished an MBA with the Open University, while working as a service manager in the shared services industry. I completed my undergraduate degree in Business Administration in Munich, Germany while working part-time in health services, retail and the hospitality industry.

I am employed by Trinity College Dublin, the University of Dublin as Service Operations Manager. My current focus is the implementation of a new workplace wellbeing policy, which I have developed in collaboration with almost 100 workplace participants over a 4-months period. In parallel,  I am continuing my scholarly engagement in the Trinity Business School, which involves publishing, student supervision, and presenting on the subjects of service operations management, development and leading change in this area.

I am a passionate powerlifter. Over the last 3 years I accomplished World, European and National records as some of my other blogs describe, for example World Powerlifting Competition in Boston, USA. 

I think there are parallels between overcoming barriers to change and being successful in a sport like powerlifting.

 

The “felt” age may reflect the true age of your brain +++ Das “gefühlte” Alter kann das wahre Alter des Gehirns widerspiegeln

New research shows that people who feel younger have the structural characteristics of a younger brain

Recent research by a team of researchers of the Seoul National University in Korea demonstrates that people’s “subjective age” — rather than their objective age — accurately predicts how young a brain really looks.

As people get older, their bodies will go through many changes. As for the brain, it also has a range of specific age-related signs that show that mental agility may start to decline.

The researchers Seyul Kwak, Hairin Kim, Jeanyung Chey and Yoosik Youm used MRI to detect signs of aging in the brains of 68 healthy people aged 59–84. They also used age-prediction modeling techniques to examine the changes in the participants’ gray matter volume. All study participants filled in a survey that asked them to answer questions about how young they felt.

The scientists conclude: “Our findings suggest that subjective experience of aging is closely related to the process of brain aging and underscores the neurobiological mechanisms of [subjective age] as an important marker of late-life neurocognitive health.”

In short: People who feel younger have the structural characteristics of a younger brain.

The researchers explain that this difference remains robust even when other possible factors, including personality, subjective health, depressive symptoms, or cognitive functions, are accounted for.

However, the processes behind this surprising link remain largely unexplained. The scientists suggest that, in what seems like a positive “self-fulfilling prophecy,” people who feel younger tend to engage in more physically and intellectually stimulating activities. On the other hand, if this is true, the opposite might happen to those who feel older.

Neue Studien zeigen, dass Menschen, die sich jünger fühlen, strukturelle Merkmale eines jüngeren Gehirns haben

Jüngste Forschungen eines Teams von Forschern der Seoul National University in Korea zeigen, dass das “subjektive Alter” der Menschen – und nicht ihr objektives Alter – genau vorhersagt, wie jung ein Gehirn wirklich aussieht.

Wenn Menschen älter werden, durchlaufen ihre Körper viele Veränderungen. Was das Gehirn betrifft, so gibt es auch eine Reihe spezifischer altersbezogener Anzeichen, die zeigen, dass die geistige Beweglichkeit abzunehmen beginnt.

Die Forscher Seyul Kwak, Hairin Kim, Jeanyung Chey und Yoosik Youm nutzten MRT, um Anzeichen von Alterung in den Gehirnen von 68 gesunden Menschen im Alter von 59 bis 84 Jahren zu erkennen. Sie verwendeten auch Altersprädiktions-Modellierungsverfahren, um die Veränderungen im Volumen der grauen Substanz der Teilnehmer zu untersuchen. Alle Studienteilnehmer füllten einen Fragebogen aus, der sie aufforderte, Fragen darüber zu beantworten, wie jung sie sich fühlten.

Die Wissenschaftler schließen daraus: “Unsere Ergebnisse legen nahe, dass die subjektive Erfahrung des Alterns eng mit dem Prozess des Alterns des Gehirns verbunden ist und die neurobiologischen Mechanismen des [subjektiven Alters] als wichtigen Marker der neurokognitiven Gesundheit des späten Lebens unterstreicht.”

Kurz gesagt: Menschen, die sich jünger fühlen, haben die strukturellen Merkmale eines jüngeren Gehirns.

Die Forscher erklären, dass dieser Unterschied robust bleibt, auch wenn andere mögliche Faktoren wie Persönlichkeit, subjektive Gesundheit, depressive Symptome oder kognitive Funktionen berücksichtigt werden.

Die Prozesse hinter dieser überraschenden Verbindung bleiben jedoch weitgehend ungeklärt. Die Wissenschaftler vermuten, dass Menschen, die sich jünger fühlen, in einer scheinbar positiven “sich selbst erfüllenden Prophezeiung” körperlich und intellektuell stimulierende Aktivitäten ausüben. Wenn das stimmt könnte das Gegenteil passieren, wenn Menschen sich älter fühlen.

Original Research Article published by:

Kwak, S., Kim, H., Chey, J., & Youm, Y. (2018). Feeling How Old I Am: Subjective Age Is Associated With Estimated Brain Age. Frontiers in aging neuroscience, 10, 168.