"Why would you hire smart, talented people and then tell them what to do and how to do it?"
That was a question posed by Suzanne West, CEO ofImaginea Energy in her keynote speech at the Global Health Innovation Academy (GHIA). Her point was that organizations need to get rid of middle management and give staff the space and freedom to find their own ways to work and be creative.
This need to foster creativity, instead of stifling it, was demonstrated throughout GHIA. Presenters from across the world described how their jurisdictions have established centers and systems to encourage and support innovation in healthcare. The main focus of the event was a contest where 14 competitors pitched the scientific and business benefits of their inventions. Each was the result of looking at a medical problem and using a different lens to find a solution.
When you look at the winning innovations, you get the feeling that their creators are fortunate to work in organizations that Suzanne West would approve of, where individuality and initiative are valued and encouraged.
If only that was the case everywhere...
As a nurse I was not sure how a scientific and business pitch competition would contribute to my career however as an individual always looking for new ideas I was intrigued.
It was an invaluable experience. The innovators showed how inspiring people are looking for ways to improve care for patients and their families. The keynote speakers' messages resonated on both a personal and professional level:
• Go for the NO! Without rejection and failure we cannot grow and improve
• We need to collaborate and work together because internal competition is poison for a company.
• The formula for changing the world is simple, first you have to want to, and secondly you have to try.
Reaching our goals and dreams does not happen overnight, it may take days (years) of hard work to reap the benefits.
The important thing is to not give up!!
What if we could reframe the way we look at healthcare? For example, would you be able to look at radiology as a technology start-up, in the business of "selling diagnoses"? Paul Natland commented that radiology is very technical specialty, based on a specific need: it relies on digital imaging and on electronic systems of scheduling and assessing patients. So: is there a rulebook that says we need to conform, when a different perspective on how to improve the "business" might bring increased benefits for the patient?
My takeaway from this event is that we need to find ways to make big healthcare organizations think more like small companies and startups. Skunk-works groups such as the newly carved D4AHS design labmight not make a big organization act like a start-up; but can definitely influence mindsets, while being innovative and fast moving. To cite Nicole Verkindt: "Intrapreneurship IS possible in big bureaucracies!"
I believe it. And it's happening. Are you in?
(This post originally appeared on HCRCentral. To access links to this post, please access the original version here)