In: Gleaned Ideas

Jack Covert and Todd Sattersten of and authors of the new book The 100 Best Business Books of All Time (it’s a go to guide on key ideas from each “best” book) gleaned ten ideas from their recent work and used the forum at Fortune’s Postcards blog to share. My two favorites especially related to health care:

Any industry is ripe for reinvention. Billy Beane turned Major League Baseball upside down by using unusual metrics to evaluate talent when his team couldn’t compete with money. Michael Lewis’ Moneyball (2003) proves that all businesses are in danger of disruption. So you might as well do some of your own reinventing.

Be unreasonable. The cliché is that change is the only thing predictable in an unpredictable world. Charles Handy would disagree with this. He says that we’re living in The Age of Unreason (1990). Change is unpredictable. The best way to combat change? Become a changeling yourself.

Not only is baseball being turned upside down, but the NBA tooSo is bankingSo is health care.

Be unreasonable.  It rolls off the tongue and flies in the face of kumbaya. What great sentiment; don’t get comfortable, get moving.

In: Planning

The CEO (Tony Hsieh) of (one of) the coolest companies (Zappos) on Earth on planning:

At Zappos, we either think one year ahead or ten years ahead.  We don’t really do anything in between. For ten years ahead we think about what our long-term vision is,  which is definitely very important both for employees and the company.  It’s important to take a step toward that vision every day.  And then in terms of one year ahead it’s more about executing on the short term.  I think a lot of companies like to put together three or five years plans and I have yet to meet anyone who has done that where things turned out as they expected.  I think it’s more important to be able to react to the environment and marketplace.  There’s a quote by Darwin where he talked about the species that’s most likely to last longest is not the one that’s the strongest or the fastest, but the one that’s the most adaptable to change.  If you just have that mentality on an ongoing basis, the same thing applies to business. (the 26th story)

BONUS! The World Health Care Blog mentions Zappos and relates the company to health care here.

In: Incredible Medical

Instead of poking, start chewing.

From PSFK:

Fortunately for the millions of diabetics worldwide, a needle alternative is on the horizon. Robert Doyle, a chemist at Syracuse University has found a way to keep oral doses of insulin intact from mouth to bloodstream. Which as it turns out, works most effectively through a chewing gum delivery system.

Via New Scientist:

For example, vitamin B12 is protected by a salivary protein called haptocorrin that binds to it in the mouth and protects it in the stomach. Once haptocorrin reaches the intestines, another chemical pathway takes over to help vitamin B12 pass into the bloodstream.

Doyle suggests binding insulin molecules to vitamin B12 so that it can hitch a ride on this protected supply chain. The insulin could ride all the way into the bloodstream, where it is released to do its work. Doyle and colleagues say early tests on rats appear to work well.

The rodents got their new treatment in liquid form, but chewing gum would be a better delivery method in humans, the team says. Chewing would ensure a plentiful supply of saliva, providing the protein needed for the insulin to make its way into the bloodstream.

In: Important Answers

Has health care growth been riding a wave of faulty demand?


In this age of consumer-driven health care, will Americans react like retail consumers—switching aggressively to generic drugs and shopping around for cheaper docs? Or will they act like car buyers—reducing their purchases of health care, avoiding doctors, and letting prescriptions go unfilled?

Likely to be a combination of the two.  Free generics and Health 2.0 tools make the former scenario plausible.  Employment cutbacks make the latter probable.

In: Design Excerpt

From The New York Times:

“What designers do really well is work within constraints, work with what they have,” said Paola Antonelli, senior curator of architecture and design at the Museum of Modern Art. “This might be the time when designers can really do their job, and do it in a humanistic spirit.”

In the lean years ahead, “there will be less design, but much better design,” Ms. Antonelli predicted.

There is a reason she and others are optimistic: however dark the economic picture, it will most likely cause designers to shift their attention from consumer products to the more pressing needs of infrastructure, housing, city planning, transit and energy.

May I politely suggest adding health care to the list?  The article goes on to say, “Designers are good at coming up with new ways of looking at complex problems…”

Complex health care is.

In: Required Reading

Both from the Wall Street Journal‘s Health Blog:

Tom Daschle will become the next Secretary of Health and Human Services when the Obama administration takes over on January 20.  He’s got big ideas for health care reform.

CEOs: Obesity is the biggest problem facing health care.  Not only is obesity extremely unhealthy, it is also going to cost the health care system big dollars in the near future (treatment, equipment, retrofitting buildings, etc.).

In: Read This

Some links, from last week, for your reading pleasure this week.

MinnPost, a non-profit online publication, profiles (and debunks) Minnesota’s uninsured population.  Quite interesting, not at all what I thought.

There’s a country more obese than the United States: Australia.  PSFK reports on the government’s response involving measuring tapes, the easy to remember phrase “green for lean, red for spread,” and $30 million.

The X PRIZE Foundation and WellPoint are offering a $10 million prize if you can improve quality and lower costs in American health care.  I’m a big fan of the idea, though I think a better approach would be to offer smaller prizes with specific desired outcomes.