How YOU Can Foster Innovation

How YOU Can Foster Innovation

Lack of innovation plagues most healthcare organizations.

Many leaders believe that the people they serve have no choice but to access the services their organization provides. They will come in their time of need, whether they like it or not, because they have to…so why change?

But that mentality seems to be changing. More and more, I hear people talking about the need for innovation in healthcare.

Author Roberta Verganti describes two types of innovation:

  • Innovation in Technology:  new items that are better at accomplishing current tasks or taking on new tasks.
  • Innovation in Meaning:  new and different experiences that people have that completely change how or why they do things.

In healthcare, we have been very focused on innovation in technology, while largely ignoring innovation in meaning.  But many believe we are now on the verge of a complete revolution in healthcare, brought on by innovation in meaning.


Even Google’s Venture Capital Unit is sharing that they are “concerned that there isn’t enough innovation, disruption and entrepreneurs attracted to this really important area of health care as there are to other areas of technology.”

So what does this mean for YOU? 

While Google might not be knocking on your door to invest, you can nurture a culture of innovation to transform the experiences of those who need your services. Foster an innovation culture that welcomes and encourages everyone in the organization to share his or her ideas. 

When you are meeting to generate ideas on a topic, set up a space where people can create without fear of being judged. Use some of these ground rules to help:

  • Encourage Outlandish Ideas:  Good ideas often come from wacky ones that are not held back by restraints such as budget, regulations, etc.
  • Try for Lots of Ideas:  The more ideas, the more likely you will stumble upon the one that works!
  • Listen Respectfully: Fully listening to the ideas of others will spark more of your own and allow you to build upon the ideas of others as well.
  • Stay on Topic: Make sure the objective is clear so that your group doesn’t veer too far off topic. It’s easy to do with lots of energy in the room!

It’s great to have a “devil’s advocate” to share the reasons something won’t work because it doesn’t help anyone to be surrounded by “yes men”. But what about someone playing the opposite role? The role of optimistic, enthusiastic supporter is just as important! 

Where do YOU think we need to see some innovation in healthcare? Share your thoughts with me below and let’s learn from each other! Happy innovating!


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