Yesterday, I continued my discussion on the “need for speed” in a health and human service market defined by short service life cycles and the need for constant and continuous change (see The Need For Speed all members and ‘Victory Is Fleeting. Losing Is Forever’ all members). As leaders are planning for sustainable models for innovation, I thought the recent observations by Judith Rodin, president of the Rockerfeller Foundation provides some interesting guidance. The Rockerfeller Foundation is celebrating its 100-year anniversary and Dr. Rodin focused on the topic of innovation in her recent article in The Stanford Social Innovation Review, Innovation for the Next 100 Years. She identifies three important elements of any organization looking to “stay ahead of the curve” in the next 100 years:
Innovation requires risk-taking – For many executives of provider organizations in the health and human service field, this is a huge challenge. There is the issues of tradition – many see their past services and business models as too important to risk walking away from. Executives of for-profit organizations are pressured to deliver results soon. Executives of non-profit organizations are challenged to never make an investment that fails. Proactive strategic positioning demands acting before changes happen in the market, not reacting to changes that have already happened. Positioning and preparedness is the key leadership role.
Innovation demands patience – Speed is a key part of competitive advantage. But, speed in innovation doesn’t necessarily deliver “results” in the short term. Timing the market – which may mean launching a “losing” service (in the short term) – demands continual monitoring by leaders.
Systematic innovation needs clear outcomes – When moving innovation from anecdotal to systematic, monitoring the “outcomes” of innovation is a “must.”
For more on positioning and preparing your organization for leadership, General John Buford’s experience at the Battle of Gettysburg during the American Civil War provides some great insight. During the first day of the battle, he positioned the Union troops on the “high ground” of the battlefield and held off the Confederates until reinforcements could arrive. To my mind, this is always a great example of how a leader needs to think ahead and place their team in the best position to achieve their strategic goals for the future. For more, check out the piece, The Day-To-Day Requirement Of Strategy. And, better yet, join me on September 11 in Gettysburg for my session, Positioning For Strategic Advantage: Buford & The High Ground, at The 2013 OPEN MINDS Leadership Retreat For Health & Human Service Executives.
For another free resource, see: How Will You Face the Future? all members