"The Alluring Value of Simplicity:

How to Design and Launch Pilot Programs that Stick"

Our brains seek certainty to protect us from the unknown, and this need for certainty can drive us to resist change – even if the change will ultimately improve our lives.

Pilot programs give us an opportunity to “try before you buy” – a way to have one foot in the current (and safe) state while dipping your toe into the future.

Affective forecasting is our attempt to predict how we’ll feel about something in the future based on what we know today, and we’re better at forecasting the weather than our future feelings – which isn’t saying much!

Now, what if someone asked you to try something new for a short period of time – and you didn’t have to start that something new until a future date?

During this presentation, you will discover:

  • Why purchasing that 5 am flight six months before your trip seems like such a great idea at the time, but feels like a really poor choice the night before you leave
  • How to design the constructs of a pilot program in ways that bypass our natural resistance to change
  • How to evaluate the effectiveness of a pilot program and decide to stop, tweak, or continue
  • How to manage pilot program extensions until they become the new normal
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About Susan L. Franzen

Assistant Vice Chancellor for Organizational Effectiveness

The University of Texas System

Susan L. Franzen’s role as Assistant Vice Chancellor for Organizational Effectiveness focuses on achieving greater mission alignment through culture change, communication, and collaborative business process improvements aimed at reducing bureaucracy and improving autonomy and agility.

Susan joined the UT System in 2008 as the Director, Leadership Institute where she was responsible for designing, developing, and leading transformational programs to build leadership culture and capacity across the UT System health and academic institutions. She has also served as Director, Shared Services Innovations where she led the change management efforts for a multi-campus enterprise resource planning implementation and office building consolidations.

In 2015, Susan led the broadest and deepest organizational assessment in the history of the UT System, engaging multiple levels of staff and faculty at all 14 institutions, leading to 26 recommendations for change. Her office facilitates the implementation of those changes and is responsible for biannual re-evaluations.

Susan holds a Bachelor’s in Business Administration from Elmhurst College and a Master’s in the Neuroscience of Leadership from Middlesex University with a focus on integrating brain science to facilitate dynamic organizational change. She is the Vice Chair for the Hospice Austin Operating Board.

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