Listen to your heart.

Phil Best, this is beautiful:

True innovation requires the adoption of a belief system that sometimes must prevail in the face of other data metrics. Read up on the great inventions and business wins and you will note that at the core of most of them lie belief, dedication, and the passion to succeed. Today’s business leaders are often too afraid to move ideas forward without ironclad data proofs that they will be successful. All too often, they are the losers. Use your head, listen to your heart, and feel what’s in your gut.

In: The importance of failure

Tony Chapman, CEO of Capital C, in Toronto’s Globe and Mail:

The only way you’re going to grow your business is innovation.  If you’re going to have an innovative culture, you must understand that that comes with the acceptance of failure. Innovation comes with a lot of mistakes.

Anybody who’s in the business of inventing the future has to be more tolerant of risk and failure because the future hasn’t been created yet.  If you’re in the business of creativity or innovation, software, technology or ideas, you have to be tolerant of experimentation and creativity. (emphasis added)

Much more (worth your time) here.

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.

Innovation through social interaction

Keith McCandless visited the Center for Integration of Medicine & Innovative Technology to speak about efforts at Billings (Montana) Clinic to reduce HA-MRSA infections.

The Billings Clinic reduced HA-MRSA infections by 89 percent from June 2005 to June 2008.  Astounding.  Even more astounding is that they accomplished the reduction by working together.

McCandless is the co-founder of the Social Invention Group.  They help people work together to innovate through social interaction on the most basic level.  Lots of innovation affecting small stuff with front-line people making big change.  He asks this question in the presentation at CIMIT:

Can we be MORE succesful transforming culture by focusing narrowly on how we tackle our complex challenges within each unit?

The answer is a resounding yes.

From the CIMIT blog (watch the 50 (or so) minute presentation for some great stories that came about through the process and an explanation of the approaches used, the power of this innovation method is impressive):

The Billings Clinic in Montana is getting spectacular results eliminating transmissions of MRSA. A variety of socially-inventive approaches are being used to unleash hundreds of small innovations. The approaches—Positive Deviance, Improv Learning Simulations, and Social Network Mapping—engage frontline staff in discovering tacit and emergent solutions for themselves… not waiting for experts in infection control or managers to solve the problem.

Changes in self-organizing behaviors at the unit level have shifted behaviors toward a more collectively mindful culture. As experts and leaders let go of over-control, front line staff take on more responsibility for safety and innovation. The results include more joy in work, safe practice, and spectacular results.

Imagine that, (good) communication leads to positive change.  It can work in your organization, too.

Proving Innovation: Business Innovation Factory

The Business Innovation Factory is very cool:

An independent, non-profit organization launched in 2005, the Business Innovation Factory was founded to enable collaborative innovation. The BIF idea is simple: create a platform where public and private sector partners can collaborate across boundaries to focus on big win projects and deliver transformative innovations.

We believe that more organizations would innovate if they had access to a safer, more manageable environment to explore and test new ideas–a real world laboratory where organizations can keep current models producing while they design and test new ways of delivering value.

They call their work Innovation@Scale:

The only practical way to accelerate collaborative innovation is to test new business models in a smaller, more manageable environment. Given its location, size, and accessible public and private sector networks, Rhode Island’s unique ecosystem provides the optimal conditions to explore and test new business models. BIF offers members access to this unique innovation test bed, a capability we call Innovation@Scale.

Because of the never-offline/mistake-averse nature of health care, proving innovative ideas in manageable environments is a necessity.  It seems a practical model; one that would benefit a consortium of hospitals/health care organizations who may not independently have the resources for an innovation center.

As it happens, the BIF is working on the Nursing Home of the Future.  Read about it here.  Their pragmatic approach to solving problems is a welcome addition to the solving-health-care debate and provides a model to thinking about bettering the entire health care industry.

Open Innovation

Formalizing getting out of health care: Open Innovation.


The term can be broadly defined as the process by which an organization seeks ideas and expertise outside company walls. Under this concept, it is argued that a company cannot and should not rely solely on its own research, but will benefit by engaging individuals outside the company to further innovation and business goals. Additionally, under this concept, businesses also look for opportunities outside of the company for internal inventions not used within the firm’s business. Open innovation is the opposite of “closed innovation,” the term broadly used to define companies that make limited use of external knowledge and limit the use of internal knowledge outside the company.

The goodness:

Additionally, research has found that companies that do best in a tough economy are those that innovate and are open to outside ideas. The only way to do this affordably is through open innovation. Now more than ever, companies need to innovate and do it more efficiently by focusing on the most efficient use of corporate resources. It enables companies to have their employees focus on the most important tasks while outsourcing for additional ideas and input. Open Innovation also enables a company to do more with its current budget or cut budgets without compromising innovation. It can also lead to more innovative products that can be brought to market more quickly than in using traditional methods.

Again, leave (but come back soon) health care!

Hero redux: Innovate!

You may have read this.

Here’s more:

Memorial Hospital and Health System of South Bend, Indiana is celebrating a long string of successes at building innovation and R&D into day-to-day operations. Hospital CEO Phil Newbold explains, “Healthcare is one of the only industries left that hasn’t embraced innovation. Yet it can lead to improved patient compliance and outcomes. Our ultimate goal is for our surrounding community to become the healthiest in America. Building a team of innovative problem solvers at Memorial is the key.”

They even utilize the Tom Peters WOW Project methodology.

Ahhh, heaven on Earth.

Getting over the hump

MyRapidMD is a cell phone service that allows first responders access to all of your important medical information in an emergency situation.  It seems like a great idea.  Here’s an article all about the service at the Los Angeles Times.

But the service is plagued by a problem common amongst health care innovation: slow adoption.

This is what’s holding MyRapidMD back according to the LAT: “The company has to persuade first responders across the country to check cellphones as a matter of policy.”

EMRsChecklistsInnovation culture.  All plagued by slow adoption for various reasons.

An oft-used sports analogy has athletes, coaches, and reporters speaking of “getting over the hump,” a moment when the worst is over and success is imminent.

It’s not too simplistic to reduce the problems of health care innovation to slow adoption—whether it’s steep implementation costs, over regulation, or the organization’s culture (etc.).

The new idea isn’t the tough part of the process.  Getting over the hump is the true obstacle.

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.

Nursing innovation!

The environment mattersInnovation centers are the new “to do” in health care (thankfully!).

Combine the two for this: an innovation center to improve the nursing work environment.  From the Kansas City Star:

McEniry said nurses working in hospitals and long-term care facilities would be invited to present ideas on improving their work environments to management teams. Hospital or facility executives then would submit proposals to the center.

Nurses whose ideas were selected would get training to make changes happen, and their institutions would get financing, she said.

The center is not a brick-and-mortar project, but rather a “regional think tank for innovative ideas and implementation strategies, all focused on improving patient outcomes for the most vulnerable patients,” McEniry said.