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5 big questions on innovation

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How is your team changing the game within your industry sector?

In order to build an innovative organization you need to build from both the “top” and from the “bottom.” From the top, you need sponsorship and support from senior leadership. Innovation is fundamentally hard because it involves change and disruption. Leaders of an organization must want to have an innovative culture and provide  the necessary support. From the “bottom”, you need to create a culture where grass roots innovation can flourish. This requires providing resources such as time and money to support innovators and their projects. Ideally, an organization would also have infrastructure to support the innovators and to guide them through the innovation process and  support them as a community of innovators.  

In addition, it’s important to recognize and reward people who are working on innovation. Innovation is challenging and there are usually a fair share of failures. You must create a culture where people are encouraged to take risks and are rewarded when they succeed. Risk taking and failure should not be punished, but rather used as a learning opportunity. 


What are some of the biggest impediments to innovation in your organization or industry sector?

Lack of support and leadership are huge impediments, as well as lack of time and resources. I also think fear of failure is a major barrier that stops people from starting innovation projects in the first place. Another big barrier to innovation is what happens after you’ve had a successful pilot. There’s a challenge around operationalization and making the transition from something that is successful on a small scale (a pilot) to something that is broadly deployed across an organization. 


How has innovation become engrained in your organization’s culture, and how is it being optimized?

Our innovation process has been evolving to meet the needs of our organization. We were originally set up to focus on innovation in care delivery and we continue to serve that focus. However, we recognize that we are in the midst of a digital revolution and we need to embrace the opportunity to innovate around digital solutions in healthcare. We are enhancing our resources and support for digital innovation, particularly innovation that enhances patient experience and the delivery of care. 


What technologies, business models, and trends will drive the biggest changes in your industry over the next two years?

One major disruptive innovation in healthcare, in terms of new processes, is in the area of Telehealth: the remote delivery of care. We now have  communication technology that allows us to deliver care to patients at home, work, or school. The challenge is leveraging those technologies, introducing new work flow, and figuring out how to change the care paradigm so that care goes to where the patient is, rather than always requiring the patient to come to a brick and mortar location for their care. 


Can you share a specific innovation strategy you’ve recently encountered which you find compelling?

Within healthcare, the Mayo Clinic has long been a leader in innovation. Also, Kaiser has demonstrated great leadership in leveraging advanced technologies.  Geisinger has done a lot to innovate in  care process . There are more organizations   beginning to actively engagie in innovation.  I think this surge in interest in innovation can be partially attributed to a recognition  that we can and must leverage innovation in care delivery to respond to the rapid  changes in the regulatory environment we are facing.

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