The Innovation Café, best innovation center yet

New hero: Phillip Newbold, CEO of Memorial Hospital in South Bend, IN, and the self-described “champion of innovation” at the hospital.  The hospital’s website is Quality of Life dot org, tremendous!

See previous posts on innovation centers here and here and here and here.

The Wall Street Journal brings news of the coolest innovation center yet:

The Innovation Café is an unusual teaching laboratory created by Philip A. Newbold, the veteran chief executive of this midsize community hospital and health system. He converted a failed delicatessen into a venue where staffers and outsiders can learn to craft new ideas.


It was a tour of an innovation training center for Whirlpool staffers that sparked the establishment of his teaching lab. He persuaded his employer to become the first U.S. community hospital with an innovation research-and-development budget. The board committed up to 1% of annual revenue for innovation activities. That equals about $4 million a year. The hospital ended up spending just $195,000 in 2005, $622,000 in 2006 and $711,000 in 2007 on innovation efforts such as venture start-up costs and staff training. But the increase in related operating profit was as much as three times the annual expenditure.

Other cool stuff from Mr. Newbold: visits other innovative businesses, rewards staff for “good tries,” developed private label health drink through strategic partnership, worked with IDEO, developed a cryo tank, and shares his innovation ideas with others in the health care field.

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