Sinflex brings you original research articles, our views on latest development in healthcare innovation and technology and updates on our projects, events and trainings.
What does innovation mean for healthcare organizations? For many years, it has been predominantly in the science and engineering space: how do you develop new drugs, new treatment procedures, newer devices, more efficient manufacturing. Most people agree that healthcare has been a laggard in terms of adopting new technologies. There are many reasons given for this: healthcare is a very regulated industry, we are dealing with people's lives and therefore have very little margin for error, and so on. However, of late, there has been an upsurge in healthcare companies wanting to incorporate the latest technologies. This has led to a spurt of innovation projects mushrooming across the board, that hope to leverage the emerging technologies. While the promise is tantalizing, there have been very few innovation projects that actually have made it to full scale implementation. Why is it that so many of these projects fail?
In this 4-part series, we will look at some of the lacunae in the way innovation projects are handled at healthcare organizations. We will look at it through the lens of our trademarked D.A.R.T. model, which stands for Design, Assess, Race and Transform. We start with Design, and its use in identifying the right problem to solve.
The second is obviously fraught with problems. We only need to look at the Java and .XML examples from recent history (how most companies felt Java and .XML would be the "standards" to beat all standards) to see how forcing the latest "cool" technologies to solve problems that do not need them can be counter-productive. But this is more prevalent than one would imagine. The PwC innovation report referenced earlier talks about how many companies are using technology as the driver, rather than an enabler for innovation.
The first approach to problem identification seems to be the "right" way to do it, given that it has bubbled up from the bottom. However, this is also not without its limitations. Most of the time such problems tend to have a very "narrow" focus, and consequently, solutioning of such problems tend to be more "band-aid" fixes. The proximity of the user to the problem can be a liability in such cases; one needs to have the ability to step back and look at the problem from afar to be able to look at more wholesome and lasting solutions. Another common mistake happens at the other end of the spectrum, where senior management identifies a very broad goal, like increasing revenue, or decreasing cost, as a driver for innovation, and then expecting that the consultants would figure out the solution. These tend to suffer from the problem statements being too "vague".
The first approach to problem identification focuses more on the "WHAT" while the second approach focuses more on the "HOW"; the "WHY" is largely ignored in both approaches. In addition, both the approaches either start with a view of a potential narrow solution, or make the solutions space too wide. This results in rendering many of the ideation techniques such as framing-reframing, brainstorming and exploring alternate points of view ineffective.
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