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.

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.

Health Care Estimates Online?

First things first, I understand the complexities of diagnosing medical problems (and that is why we have very competent, educated physicians making these decisions. So this is a “just saying” post.)

I’ve heard the mechanic and doctor metaphor before.  You may have as well.  Here’s why it doesn’t hold up.


Wouldn’t it be neat if there was a tool available (and smart enough) to patients that could take the information a doctor has just given about a diagnosis, plug it into a tool online, and receive estimates for any necessary procedures?

Repair Pal does it for autos. From PSFK:

The just launched site lets you enter information about your automobile along with the problem it’s having, and presto – you’ll get the fair market estimate for repair and parts. RepairPal users will also be able to create profiles for their cars to keep all repair records, and receive suggested service reminders.

Just saying…

By the way, does it scare anyone else that for the majority of us there is more information stored electronically about our vehicles than about our own personal health?

Why hasn’t a hospital pursued an online social network?

It shouldn’t be shocking that online social networks haven’t taken hold in the hospital world (are there any?).

But they should.

The possibilities are truly endless.

Cultivate a relationship with new mothers. Encourage patients with similar diagnoses, past and present, to help each other heal. Help chronic patients better manage their diseases. Encourage physicians to interact with each other. Improve your organization by allowing all employees to easily share pictures of grandchildren. Help providers deal with the stresses of caring for others. Facilitate patient education.

The list could go on.

A hospital could build its own.  But it could also very easily encourage the use of existing networks.  The possibility for strategic relationships with all forms of health care related social networks is astounding.  I’m reasonably surprised hospitals haven’t pursued the idea.

If I were an academic…

…I would study this: if employers paid their employees to work-out (read: cardio and weights) during the work day (like an hour), would the lost productivity be made up by lower health care insurance costs?

With individuals working 70, 80, 90+ hours/week they probably lack the time to get some quality elliptical machine time in (not to mention the need to relieve some stress on the bench press).