Thursday, May 17, 2012
We all know that innovation is a necessary process in every market, particularly when it comes to health care (see Innovate. Coordinate. Collaborate. all members and Innovate or Else? all members). But talking about innovation – and actually doing the innovating are two very different things.
Where to begin? Actually setting out to “innovate” can be a challenging first step. To help you get started on this path, The Harvard Business Review has three great Tips on Innovation that can apply to any business, but I found them to be great advice for executive teams in the health and human services industry:
Challenge rationalizations – Every organization has shared explanations for doing things the way they do. Poke holes in those rationalizations and ask the question: why is this standard practice? In health and human services, we sometimes get caught in the trap of doing things “as usual” because we haven’t considered any other way. But as consumers and payers change their expectations, service provider organizations will have to adapt as well. Don’t tie yourself to a service, program, delivery system, treatment option, etc. just because its familiar (see Stuck In Sunk Cost Thinking all members).
Expose faulty either/or thinking – False dichotomies can set up irrational choices about how to work. Don’t let A or B be the only options, propose C or D as a new way of working. Think outside of the box – explore what your consumers and your payers want, look at what your competitors are doing, consider your local market and the larger nationwide trends – and only then can you make an informed decision about what might be the best strategy for your organization (see Avoid Innovation Inbreeding all members).
Focus on the long-term – Emphasis on the short term can trap you into current practice. Help your colleagues pull back, see the big picture, and understand not only short-term gains but long-term consequences. The health care market is changing slowly, but surely. In the future we will see new financial models and new technologies changing the way we deliver services – ignoring it now won’t make it go away. But by planning for that future market now, you will be able to strategically position your organization to succeed. (see Get Ready For The New Normal all members).
Innovation is an ongoing process, one that your executive team will need to work at continuously. But to make innovative thinking a reality in your organization, you need to have access to great market intelligence about payers, competitors, consumers and your own team. And most of all, you need to embrace the innovative process that will give you an adaptable and successful organizational perspective.
Sarah C. Threnhauser
Executive Vice President, OPEN MINDS
For another free resource, see: Reframe The Market & You’ll Find The Opportunities all members
This is free for the next sixty days to all registered OPEN MINDS Circle members.