Change Design

by David King

The Kurt Lewin change model

Kurt Lewin describes three states that organisations go through:

  • The cycle through each change state can be quite rapid.
  • In modern businesses and organisations, the ‘refreeze’ state can be transitory and brief, as the quest for improvement drives onwards.


Quite simply – something needs to change. Due to an external or internal driver (or drivers), the business or organisation needs to restructure, reorganise, reengineer its processes, change or develop new technology solutions. This could be in response to a change in the business, financial, management, operational, people or technology environment (for example, increased competition or a commercial threat, or an acquisition or merger). In the ‘unfreeze’ state, you should seek to ‘unlock’ the present way of doing things or ‘status quo’, establish a new vision for the business, establish the change requirements and approach for implementing the changes.


In this state, you are planning and executing the required changes, managing implementation of all change products and ensuring delivery of the required benefits.


In this state, the changes are fully implemented and consolidated and become the ‘steady state’ management and operation of the business or organisation – at least until the next big ‘unfreeze’ takes place!