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.