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7/13 #ThreeMinutesADay: Three Common Myths About Innovation in Healthcare
Three minutes a day takes bad business decisions away.
Today's tip: Healthcare companies – especially large enterprise healthcare companies – tend to fall victim to three common myths about innovation in healthcare. They buy into the notions that innovation is a sprint or a “thing”, and that stakeholders can speak for customers.
In a hurry? Just watch the video below.
Today I would like to talk to you about innovation in healthcare and, more specifically, the most common myths I come across every time I work directly with healthcare enterprise clients. What I'm about to present can certainly apply to some small and medium businesses in the healthcare space. However, I’ve found that these three very specific myths are most common among large enterprises in the healthcare space and among the digital innovation officers who are brought along to spearhead innovation within these larger companies.
Three myths about innovation in healthcare
1. Innovation is not a sprint
It is not a sprint; it is a marathon. Many healthcare executives believe you can simply bring a great digital innovation leader into an enterprise company in the healthcare space and he or she will immediately succeed. These leaders are looking for instant results but that is just not how it works.
The reality is that innovation in the healthcare space is more like a marathon than a quick sprint to the results finish line. For innovation to succeed and really create new experiences, new products, new software, or new successful applications, you have to devote all the time that is necessary to create real, meaningful change within the organization.
To achieve this level of change and, in time, achieve the level of results you want, you have to blow up processes, take down silos, look at the team and see if it's the right team to succeed, and more. You have to have top-down alignment as an enterprise healthcare company where your entire organization completely focuses on one mission, one goal, with all working together to figure out how to get there.
Innovation is a marathon, not a sprint. It cannot work without blowing up what was, removing barriers, and allowing and empowering people to think outside the box, to test parameters and to experiment with new ideas.
2. Innovation is a “thing”
Just as innovation is not a sprint, it is also not a “thing”, it’s a culture. I often hear healthcare executives talk about innovation as if it is a thing that they are going to do like public relations or marketing. This is the wrong way to think about innovation. The spirit of innovation has to be embedded in your corporate culture or it will never take hold. And guess what? Sometimes, when you decide to embark on the path to innovative ideas, there will be many people within your organization who are not really going to be in line with this new culture. These people will hold your business back from pursuing the latest, most innovative ideas such as IoT technology, blockchain, or artificial intelligence.
To combat this issue, the first thing you need to do is give your innovation integrator, the Chief Innovation Officer, the ability and the autonomy to make decisions. Just be aware, though, that when you do this some of those decisions may very well be that a variety of people who are naysayers or who have the wrong mentality about what digital innovation in healthcare means, should be terminated.
Building a true culture of innovation takes commitment. Not only from the executives and the individuals tasked with creating innovation but the entire organization. If people are standing in the way of this innovation, they need to go. This can be a difficult commitment to make but it is the only way to establish a pervasive culture of innovation throughout the organization.
3. Stakeholders can speak on behalf of the customers
This is something that happens far too often in enterprise healthcare companies. Particularly in large companies, people do not listen to their clients. And yes, a person who engages with a healthcare company is a customer, a client. Yet, many healthcare companies don’t see them this way.
These people have specific needs. They have feedback they want to share and, more often than not, what happens in an enterprise setting is that you have certain internal stakeholders who talk on behalf of the customer as if they know exactly what the customer needs. This is not an effective way to innovate.
What these internal stakeholders are really doing is blocking you from moving forward. Even if they actually do have access to their consumers – the right clients that you want to talk to, on the provider or pharma side – they will block you from getting access to them. This is very dangerous and just wrong because you do not want to hear from the stakeholders, you want to hear from the end consumer.
To truly innovate, you need to get that raw feedback before you decide what to do next. You need to collect as much data as possible and study analytics. You need to listen to your customers - but don’t listen too much. Innovation is still driven by you and your company. Just like surveying the data before you put a marketing plan in place, you should take what you learn from your customers and put an actionable innovation plan together based on that.
These are the top three issues I see when a healthcare enterprise company engages in a new innovation process. If you're listening and watching this video and it helps you find ways to mitigate these issues, you will be in a much better position to succeed as a company.
Have you been involved in a healthcare enterprise situation where you saw these innovation myths play out? Have you seen other myths that companies have had to overcome on the way to creating a culture of innovation? If so, let me know in the comments below.
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