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3 Ways to Foster Innovation in Your Organization

Monday, October 31, 2016

Today, there are few companies more innovative than Uber. Anyone who has had the experience of getting into a friendly, clean Uber to travel to your next destination understands this. Even more, their aggressive move into driverless cars and food delivery shows they're just getting started with changing our world.

While companies like Uber are a clear example of innovation, too many healthcare organizations are still struggling to drive innovation. In fact, many organizations inadvertently kill innovation. So, in the spirit of Thomas Edison, Steve Jobs and Uber's CEO, Travis Kalanick, here are three actions healthcare leaders can take to foster innovation.

  1. Create a culture of innovation. Innovation must be intentional and planned. It's not a reward to an employee who saves money, or an invitation to attend a conference. While these maybe a part of the process, innovation must nurtured through the right methodology and inspiration.
  2. Hire and protect disruptors in your organization. To drive innovation successfully you must hire differently. Hiring people open to change and willing to challenge the status quo is critical. Disruptors however need to be protected. They challenge the protectors of the status quo which may result in people freezing them out or giving them lip-service but no support. Without the right environment, disruptors will get frustrated and leave the organization. Let's face it, good innovators are hard to find. When you do find them, it's important that they not only feel welcome, but are supported and rewarded as the implementation of new ideas is underway and driving the change we need.
  3. Take a few risks. In the winter of 2015, Uber's Market Cap was greater than every car rental company combined and even greater than FedEx. While that may seem extraordinary, the fact is that any taxi company could have programmed the mobile app that powers Uber. The technology is not difficult, but the vision and willingness to do things differently is difficult. Healthcare will see tremendous change over the next few years that we can't even imagine today. Executives must increase the speed to innovation through strategic risk taking.

Calculated risk with small bets is smartest, but failure to try new ideas, gamble on new people and push change will leave a whole host of organizations waiting to be acquired by those who are succeeding ...or worse yet, left behind and out of business.

Let's be sure our actions are not inadvertently killing innovation but leading the change we need today!