Editor’s note: WRAL Local Tech Wire has added another feature with the "Innovation Exchange." Noah Garrett, former director of communications for the North Carolina Technology Association, is a creative spirit, from writing music to news stories, who owns and operates NGC Communications. The focus of the Innovation Exchange is just that – creating a Web community through which people can exchange ideas and foster creativity.

Participate in the Exchange. Send ideas and feedback to: noah@thinkngc.com

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – Surprise! "Change" has replaced "innovation" as the most popular and overused buzzword currently being used in our culture.

Hey, Change Exchange has a pretty good ring to it. What do you think?

"Change" is said anytime and everywhere. But, what many don’t realize is that changing mindsets and creating a culture of change is much more difficult to do than it is to say.

And, I have proof.

IBM Global Business Services’ Strategy and Change consulting group this week released a study providing an analytical perspective on the change-related challenges firms face today. It also examines how organizations can manage change and identify strategies for improving project outcomes – continuing a conversation that began in the IBM Global CEO Study 2008.

More than 1,500 change-management executives from 15 countries were surveyed, revealing that nearly 60 percent of projects aimed at achieving business change do not fully meet their objectives.

The major obstacles to implementing change in an enterprise are centered on people and corporate culture. According to results of the study, changing mindsets and attitudes is the biggest challenge to implementing change in an enterprise, followed by corporate culture at 49 percent.

These challenges were flagged as more important than shortage of resources, highlighting that these problems are seen as inherently more difficult to solve even if given sufficient resources.

"The dynamic pace of today’s globally integrated economy is causing organizations to re-frame their traditional view of what ‘normal’ is in an enterprise," said Lawrence Owen, vice president, IBM Global Business Services, in a prepared statement. "Companies need to anticipate change and develop more systematic processes so they can tackle it quickly and effectively to stay ahead of the competition. The ability to manage change must be a core competency for organizations today."

A consistent and structured change management approach yields tangible benefits, the study explained. Respondents who always follow specific and formal change management procedures had a 52 percent project success rate, compared to a 36 percent success rate for those who improvise per situation.

On average, organizations spent about 11 percent of total project budgets on change activities. However, the top 20 percent of performers invested far less money in terms of project success.

Rather than simply "throwing money at the problem" they strategically invested in building awareness of project complexity, spending more on building change skills and developing long term tools, methods and capabilities.

I have a few ideas of my own for creating change across the enterprise.

One, embracing the history of an organization gives employees a sense of identity and belonging. You can’t move forward if you don’t know where you’ve been, right?

Two, create a team atmosphere. Leaders who bring people together and talk about "us" instead of "I" will bring togetherness – not in the Kum Bah Yah sense, but at least get everyone on the same page.

Lastly, increase contact and help people stay in touch with one another. Communication is the holy grail of many successful change activities.

That’s my two cents anyway.

A supportive and cohesive corporate culture does not happen by wishing it to be so. You have to take deliberate action that may have doubtful benefits in the short term, although the longer-term benefits will far outweigh the early costs.

Check out the full report and some the recommendations it provides. It’s definitely worth a read.