Tuesday, March 6, 2007

In Innovation; Emphasize the Big Idea: Readings on Innovation from The Daily Drucker (HarperBusiness, 2004)

Prologue: Here Peter Drucker speaks of making a list of your three best ideas and acting upon them. What are the three big ideas in health care innovation?

My top three are:

1) learning from health care consumers—through focus groups, satisfaction surveys, and clinical experiments -- what they want and quickly delivering it;

2) engaging caregivers on the front lines of care, asking them what works best, and implementing necessary changes;

3) seeking effective, systematic, and understandable ways to educate patients at the points of care at which they need the information the most and filling in the gaps.

Others have loftier goals – universal coverage, ubiquitous information systems, unified collaboration. I applaud their efforts. My innovations are more modest – but more doable. One man’s frog eggs are another man’s full-grown frogs.

In Innovation, Emphasize the Big Idea

Innovative ideas are like frogs’ eggs: out of a thousand hatched, only one or two reach maturity

The innovative organization understands that innovation starts with an idea. Ideas are somewhat like babies – they are born small, immature, and shapeless. They are promise rather than fulfillment. In the innovative organization executives do not say, ”This is a damn fool idea.” Instead they ask, “What would be needed to make this embryonic, half-baked, foolish idea into something that makes sense, that is feasible, that is an opportunity for us?”

But an innovative organization also knows that the great majority of ideas will not turn out to make sense. Executives in innovative organizations therefore demand that people with ideas think through the work needed to turn an idea into a product, a process, a business, or a technology. They ask, “What work should we have to do and what would we have to found out and learn before we can commit the company to this idea od\v your?” These executives know that is as difficult and risk to convert a small idea into successful reality as it is to make a major innovation. They do not aim at “improvements” or “modifications” in products or technology. They aim at innovating a new business.

ACTION POINT: Make a list of your best three ideas. Then make a list of the key pieces of information you need to know and the major work that needs to be done before these ideas can blossom into a new business. Now pursue the best idea, or if none is practical, start again.

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