Ideas + Ideas + Ideas = Better Ideas

The internet is extremely good at sourcing ideas.  Ideas are good because they compound and build upon each other.  The organization 50 years ago was limited to idea sourcing coming from books, newspapers, relationships, conferences, etc.  That was fine, then.  Today, it doesn’t work like that.  Today’s idea sourcing occurs through the same channels—only now in an unlimited capacity.

And that’s cool.  Because, as mentioned previously, ideas build upon each other.  Reading other people’s ideas inspires personal ideation.  It’s a virtuous process.  The organization today is limited only by its own barriers.

Seth is conducting a very-non-traditional MBA program.  There are nine students and they have a blog here.

They came up with 999 business ideas and shared them.  Some are better than others, some are already around, some are truly ingenious.  It’s hard not to be inspired.  If you read through the list with a health care point of view it’s hard not to find much applicability.  Excerpted ideas appear below:

  • Consulting service that teaches companies how to improve their data visualization (use the right graphs and charts)
  • Brainstorm Consulting – Teach companies how to brainstorm
  • Create a website for non-profits and a list of their projects/needs and a similar list for foundations.
  • Meal delivery in hospitals
  • Surgery-specific recovery packs in hospital (if Sucrets and a can of cranberry juice is better than water & crackers, that pack exists)
  • A technology/service that Preachers/Rabbi’s/Clergy can use that creates a way to gather feedback during the service from the attendees.
  • A paperless hospital
  • Story Consulting – Help companies define and refine their story and teach them how to tell it
  • Service to teach doctors how to use technology to reach out to patients
  • Web-based devil’s advocate service for startups looking for someone to critique their ideas.
  • A non-profit that documents the stories told by elderly in nursing homes.
  • A personal education coach-they pick blogs, books, resources for you to learn based on your personal interests and career goals.  They gather all the materials and for you and make recommendations on the best way for learning the material.
  • Zappos Consulting – Teach companies how to deliver remarkable customer service and embed it in their culture

Go enjoy the list and find your own favorites.

Blog Vacation!

Demanding offline commitments (ugh! the weeks of student life are s-l-o-w-l-y ticking by…) mean a few days of light posting.  I’ve been trying to keep up by posting links to other good stuff but this week is being driven by the theme “Buckle Down Week.”  Back later this week…

Linked data will change health care

Boing Boing‘s coverage of TED 2009 includes this post about Tim Berners-Lee (he invented this here World Wide Web).  Turns out, people weren’t enamored with his creation early on.  Now he’s working on what is called the Semantic Web (it takes a little effort to figure out what that is, but it is very cool) and getting much the same reaction.  At its core, the Semantic Web means putting data on the web and then–very importantly–linking it together. Boing Boing’s Mark Frauenfelder:

Why is linked data important? Curing cancer, understanding economy, global warming. A lot of the state of the knowledge of human race is stored in databases that are not shared — stored in “silos.” Now they are linking the data, bridging across different disciplines. “When you connect data together you get this huge power out of it.”

The implications on health care, while not obvious at the moment, will be enormous.

Healthy food in hospitals

One of the most stunning contradictions in today’s hospitals is the unhealthful food they serve.  In a place dedicated to healing and healthful decision making a patron can find a wide array of dining options that are definitely not healthy.  Some hospitals even have fast food restaurants within their walls.  It all makes little sense.

Hospitals around the country continue to realize their error, most recently Hennpein County Medical Center in Minneapolis:

For the first time, “trans fat” has been wiped off the hospital menu.

HCMC says it’s the first hospital in the Twin Cities to go completely “trans-fat free” — eliminating or replacing 130 items, from cookies to snacks to refried beans, from its cafeterias and room service.

Yet other hospitals, too, have joined the growing national movement to shun trans fats because of the link to heart disease and obesity. (Star Tribune)

Key to health care sustainability: no growth?

This is heretical health care thinking: what if the health care we provided today was enough (if tomorrow is a better day, we can roll with that)?  Enough in the sense that modern medicine has advanced to the point that any additional value created by continued medical research is not worth its financial cost.

The Good Blog quotes MIT Sloan School of Management professor emeritus Jay Forrester.  He says that the future business is a successful no-growth business:

“I think one of the biggest management problems is going to be to understand how to manage a successful non-growing company—and how to get out of the frame of mind that success is measured only by growth. … It’s very common to say, “If you stagnate, if you don’t grow, you will fail.” Well, that’s possible if you don’t maintain a system with proper management policies. You’ve still got to have some way to maintain vitality, to maintain some product progress, but to do it within a fixed demand on the environment. I don’t think I’ve heard of that being taught in management schools.”

Good’s Andrew Price writes:

Indeed. The idea of a no-growth business doesn’t seem to get discussed much anywhere yet. It’s great when companies buy carbon offsets or incorporate post-consumer recycled content into their products—every little bit helps—but we generally ignore the fact that there’s something inherently unsustainable about any business that has to get bigger to stay alive.

Realistically, the United States’ annual health care spend is unsustainable.  So when the dollars run out for advancing health care (assuming they do) will we accept what we have as the be-all end-all?

There may not be a choice.

Here’s the complete interview with Forrester.

NYT does health care disruptive innovation

The New York Times:

Instead, the country needs to innovate its way toward a new health care business model — one that reduces costs yet improves both quality and accessibility.

Two main causes of the system’s ills are century-old business models, for the general hospital and the physician’s practice, both of which are based on treating illness, not promoting wellness. Hospitals and doctors are paid by insurers and the government for the health care equivalent of piecework: hospitals profit from full beds and doctors profit from repeat visits. There is no financial incentive to keep patients healthy.