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The 8 Essentials of How to Innovate in Healthcare


Healthcare is ever-evolving and continuously engaged in innovation. Innovation, from time to time may occur spontaneously, but like the scientific method certain elements are repeatedly seen in the process of reaching these moments of progress. The following 8 attributes were the result of speaking to approximately 2500 executives in over 300 companies, yielding quite the sample size.

Healthcare is ever-evolving and continuously engaged in innovation

, whether that's accomplished via

able to track one's chemistry, novel drugs, or by embracing quality through process improvement methods like

Six Sigma


operations management.

wearable biosensorsLEAN

Innovation, from time to time may occur spontaneously, but like the scientific method certain elements are repeatedly seen in the process to reaching these moments of progress.

looked at the essentials needed for innovation, and the following ight attributes were the result of this work. In total, approximately 2,500 executives in over 300 companies were interviewed, yielding quite the sample size and valuable insight.

McKinsey & Company

The question remains as to how we can apply these to healthcare and the


business of medicine

1. Aspire - Do you regard innovation led growth as critical, and do you have cascaded targets that reflect this?

This attribute calls for crafting and sharing a unified vision that an organization can follow. This is a crucial step wherein we can apply certain traits or


keys to achieving vision

This aspiration is commonly depicted in the mission and vision of an organization. Oftentimes, it seems that these vision statements are forgotten and not revisited at regular intervals due to the hustle and bustle of healthcare operations.

In order to maintain an innovative and curious mindset, we need to recommit and align with our set vision. It is important that healthcare providers and systems do this at regular intervals both at the individual level as well as the system level.

You may realize that your mission and vision statements need to be revised in order to continue in a concerted effort towards your ultimate goal. It is also important for these targets to relate to the overall

that guides your work.


2. Choose - Do you invest in a coherent, time and risk balanced portfolio of initiatives with sufficient resources to win?

Healthcare has been reengineering and redesigning a lot of its workflow and processes. This has been evidenced by increased attention put on process analysis, layout redesign, work redesign, quality management and in some instances engineering layoffs.

You may already be or currently in the process of becoming familiar with Six Sigma and LEAN, a couple of the more commonly used tools for this.The five components of Six Sigma using the DMAIC acronym are Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control. These general principles are expressed in the majority of quality improvement processes.

What's great about using an evidenced based method to help in choosing how to invest resources is that it helps increase the probability of success.

These tools help foster and engage team members, staff, and external partners by taking into account the voice of the customer. Their buy-in and support for your vision are key.

3. Discover - Do you have differentiated business, market, and technology insights that translate into winning value propositions?

In order to make the most of the discovery process, healthcare will need to continue to collaborate and function from a team-based perspective.

The removal of silos will generate insights from a broader view and best translate into the creation of win-win value propositions.

Educational institutions like Harvard have started to take this to heart and are redesigning their health professional

curriculums and pathways.

4. Evolve - Do you create new business models that provide defensible and scalable profit sources?

Healthcare continues to build on technological advances and new business models as evidenced by the proliferation of telehealth and other consumer-oriented services. It will need to continue down this path of engaging as well as involving the consumer as this becomes less novel and more commonplace over the coming years.

5. Accelerate - Do you beat the competition by developing and launching innovations quickly and effectively?

The benefit of piloting multiple new ventures within a health organization is that it allows for the ability to then focus efforts around the most promising activities. It is still very difficult to succeed, but once again the upfront efforts and due diligence will be key for accelerations.

6. Scale - Do you launch innovations at the right scale in the relevant market and segments?

Small scale piloting allows for experimenting in a much more controlled environment prior to scaling. If you are looking to scale fast make sure you initially go slow as evidenced by this study published in the


Harvard Business Review

7. Extend - Do you win by creating and capitalizing on external networks?

This is where the partnerships and collaborations you have built are vital. In this manner, others will benefit from your efforts as well. This is an important aspect of building and making team-based work an everyday part of your culture.

8. Mobilize - Are your people motivated, rewarded, and organized to innovate repeatedly?

The best companies find ways to embed innovation into the fibers of their culture, from the core to the periphery


How do you Innovate?

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