The Process Ricoh Used To Manage our own Transformation

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Businesses have an enormous incentive to transform. Rapidly changing customer needs, a shifting marketplace and continuous disruption are consistent factors in today’s business world. I’d like to describe the practical steps we took at Ricoh, and show how we drove change across our organisation.

There are 6 key sections. Each were critical for ensuring that business transformation was imbedded fully across our culture, and laid the foundations for a completely new way of working.


The first, and most important stage of transformation is at the start.

Getting “real” buy in from your organisation requires honest and open discussion. It’s not a “sell” job. We made sure that everyone in our organisation understood the journey we were embarking on.

It’s about recognising that you are going to change the culture and the hard work this entails. It’s about understanding the vision, the prize if you get this right. Fundamentally, it’s about accepting the need for change.

Set the scene, be honest, don’t over commit or over sell. Paint the vision and be clear on the benefits of getting it right.


One of our first steps was to create a new core team to drive change across the organisation. A group of people who could influence, engage and excite the wider business. Individuals within the organisation who possess resilience, dedication, passion and a disruptive spirit. You need a team who can work together to provide their own support structure, and keep themselves motivated when times are difficult.

This team are effectively the champions of change. They can lead, influence, challenge and disrupt in a non-confrontational way. The strength that water possess over rock, where its unending energy wears and smooth the ragged edges.


We created a disruptive (but accepted) team of individuals, dispersed across our organisation. They would work together as a virtual team to challenge the norm and change some fundamental, embedded processes across our business. This would result in tangible change and creating a continuous improvement culture.

We asked this team to actively go out into the business and change the process. More than that, we’re then asking them to work with the IT department to change the systems which drive the process.

Finally, we’re asking them to lead people to adopt the new.


There are many different approaches for driving change. At Ricoh, Lean Six Sigma supported structured process improvement. It also ran hand in hand with Change Management and Project Management.

As the approach matured and embedded within Ricoh we wanted to expand the tool set to enable our people to address most issues. Our approach consisted of:

  • Structured problem solving
  • Designing new processes
  • Designing new products and services
  • Creating agility

Some tools fix “cultural” issues, some practical. When combined together they create more capability in an individual.

When a tool set is distributed throughout an organisation, the group mind set changes. Then you can build new capability in your organisation as a whole.


The development of leaders is the route to sustaining and embedding change. We developed a new 4 layer Leadership programme, from talent through to Senior Managers.

At each layer of Leadership development we introduced a “why” which is relevant to the audience and a “how” so we could get behavioural change.

In addition, to bring any organisational capability into the very core of an organisation, it needs to stop being an initiative and become “the way we do things”.

By embedding this into the Leadership development programme, bringing elements into the Induction process, recording achievements in the HR systems and writing it into job descriptions it starts to become “way we do things”. The Leadership team is critical to sustaining the change. By hard wiring this into the future leadership development you ensure it becomes part of your organisation’s DNA.


What does the future hold for organisations? More specifically for organisation capability? You only need to look at the news or  the latest articles on technology, future of the workplace and the future of commerce to realise there are many conflicting opinions.

I believe it’s possible to build capability around this new uncertainty.

As the nature of work changes, this capability needs to be embedded into the fabric and culture of an organisation. If we successfully combine the above and integrate this into the roles of all of our people, this is where you can create the capability to flourish in a new world.


Find out how Ricoh has helped prepare organisations for rapid change. Contact one of our Workplace Services teams here.

Ricoh Transform is no longer active. You can keep up to date with the latest thinking from Ricoh Ireland on our new blog, Ricoh Insights.

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