I set out on a quest to learn from some of the best innovation institutions on the planet. The journey sent me along an inspiring highway with stops at Harvard Business School, The Wharton School, and an exciting MIT "Hacking Medicine" event. The takeaway? Simple really. Healthcare needs a new cup of coffee. A blend full of flavor with rich creative competition, bold accountability, and a performance-driven finish. Yes, I just did a full-out coffee analogy. Stay with me, it gets better.
Here is the breakdown of the new brew ingredients that can change healthcare:
Creative Competition: The concept of competing is used with such frequency today that it seems to be losing its core. Competing without a well-defined objective can result in more pitfalls than wins. Using a competitive framework to uncover new market innovations is a fantastic example of where we can harness competition towards a measurable result. Enter "Innovation Tournaments" by Christian Terwiesch and Karl Ulrich from Wharton. The ability to develop an innovation process can streamline feedback from important groups of stakeholders like---patients! Let's use innovation tournaments to listen to our patients more effectively. Even better, let's see what their ideas are for meaningful solutions!
Bold Accountability: Healthcare often operates without a performance scoreboard. This is beginning to change, but it must accelerate into all facets of care. The key to uncovering accurate scores is to have the correct measurements. Robert Kaplan and Michael Porter from Harvard Business School have been leading the Value-Based Care discussion the past decade. Their insights into where healthcare needs to improve have been boiled down to very "doable" tasks. First on the list, MEASURE! Time-Driven Activity-Based Costing (TDABC) is the bedrock that we all must commit to establishing before we can improve. If you don't know where you currently are, then how can you improve it?
Performance-Driven: To achieve high levels of performance, it is important to build the right teams. Working through the MIT "Hacking Medicine" program demonstrated the power of team diversity. This entrepreneurial event connected engineers, developers, designers, clinicians, and innovators from multiple industries with patients that had a specific need. In this "learning" environment, teams were able to apply many of the core attributes that performance-driven cultures seek to establish. Using a competitive framework with specific deadlines and progress markers allowed for groups of experts to maximize each team member's strengths. The event uncovered both significant market opportunities and actual solutions that patients want. Not to mention, there were winners and losers. As in, a panel of judges selected the Top 3 solutions. Interestingly enough, each solution that was developed during the "hack" identified needs that merit further exploration.
In closing, here's an attempt at another coffee analogy to drive you to push the social media "like" button: Innovation needs to be "filtered" to get to the best out of the beans (opportunities). Outside industries have a lot to offer in our mission to improve healthcare for patients. Applying best practices from leading institutions like Harvard, Wharton, and MIT could deliver your organization the next big advantage in the current competition for delivering better OUTCOMES! We can all appreciate that brew.