LEANing into Innovation

by Judi Painter, MBA       

As we move into a new year it seems appropriate to ask the question as to why innovation seems so difficult in healthcare. What strategic approach does one take to generate sustainable and disruptive innovation?

If we look back at an article from 2011 by Rosabeth Moss Kanter in the Harvard Business Review “Why Innovation Is So Hard in Health Care – and How to Do It Anyway”  it says that “supposedly everyone working in healthcare wants  the same thing: to help people get and stay healthy.”  This includes all healthcare stakeholders and patients.

The challenge for innovation management is to come up with sustainable ideas that can shift markets through improvements in the quality of care and outcomes that really help patients. In 2015, I do not imagine we will see a shortage of new ideas and new topics for innovation in healthcare.  Is there a new approach to strategy that can be used?

Here is a question for all healthcare industry entrepreneurs. Are we too often forcing the puzzle to fit together when it simply does not have the right pieces?

Using the right puzzle pieces requires not only strategic thinking but flexibility and creativity. Innovation management must be nimble and aware enough to know when to start over and when to take the next step. Process improvement supports these efforts, making sure that timelines, financing, product teams and all the rest of the business dynamics are put into play.

For example, process methods like LEAN can help refine your innovative ideas and strategy while streamlining the path to production in your organization or an entrepreneurial venture.   Tom Agan equates LEAN to “a more efficient learning process” in his Harvard Business Review article titled “The Secret to Lean Innovation Is Making Learning a Priority.” Through rapid learning, innovation efforts can be more targeted and address the needs of not only the organization but also the patients.  Using processes like LEAN may just help you find the puzzle piece you are looking for.

Following one’s innovation dreams takes commitment and concentration.  2015 is the perfect time to start.

Judi Painter will be a speaker during the LEAN Enabled Start-Ups for Success session at HIMSS15 in Chicago, IL.


About Ethan Baron

Program Manager, Innovation, Healthcare Information Systems, HIMSS
This entry was posted in Innovation and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s