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Innovation Archives - Lead Inclusively

Why Healthcare Innovation Often Fails

By | Inclusive Innovation

Today, health systems require an increased focus on innovation to achieve their strategic goals. With major forces of change at play — including consumerism, retail healthcare, risk-shifting, new entrants, and uncertainty resulting from a new administration — hospitals and other providers have begun evaluating new business models, diversifying their business, and searching for new revenue streams to stay relevant and competitive in their markets. Igor Belokrinitsky © ASC COMMUNICATIONS 2016

However, deciding to pursue innovation is far easier than actually making it work.  We have found that connecting innovation efforts with Diversity & Inclusion initiatives is a win-win between business strategy and H.R. strategy.

There  are a few common themes that are beginning to come to light in failed innovation attempts. Fortunately, all of these can be mitigated through thoughtful and purposeful design of an innovation operating model that includes enabling diverse ideation from a diverse talent pool.

1. Treating innovation like any other project. Treating innovation like any other investment is one of the most common mistakes we see. Measuring the financial return on innovation projects alongside other projects decreases their attractiveness, as most new ventures’ payback period is protracted. This may result in organizations shelving otherwise high potential opportunities, or myopically focusing on incremental opportunities with near-term payback. Furthermore, funding innovation via traditional budgeting processes (those used for traditional business planning) does not pull capital from dedicated innovation funds, and forces ongoing innovation efforts to compete for funding against other projects, operating units, and organizational priorities. In times of austerity and budget cuts, innovation efforts can be perceived as non-essential, and are at greater risk of falling subject to the axe. Using Diversity and Inclusion engagements as a catalyst for driving diverse innovation and tapping D&I budgets through H.R. or individual business units can be the key to avoiding this problem.

2. Measuring the wrong things. Measuring progress of innovation efforts is significantly different from, and more challenging than for traditional business units. Measuring your innovation portfolio through financial reporting processes may not provide full transparency into an initiative’s performance — progress towards milestones should be defined by metrics appropriate for pre-revenue and early-stage growth companies (e.g., engaged users, downloads), not strictly by financials. Measuring innovation efforts strictly by financial projections may be misleading, as financial projections for early stage and start up businesses are subject to significant uncertainty, and are easily missed.  Qualitative metrics as well as financial metrics related to inclusion efforts pay off in unanticipated dividends.

3. Not understanding the talent market. Successful intrapreneur leaders are a special breed of talent that have both entrepreneurial tendencies and experience, but are comfortable navigating the processes and politics of larger corporations. Not only are these leaders different in profile from traditional corporate hires, the teams they require to support their innovation efforts (e.g., design, development) are different as well. These leaders are in high demand from start-up or growth stage organizations, and field offers with compensation that includes cash and significant equity — attractive components of a total package. Leveraging traditional HR functions that don’t understand the profile or motivations of the right talent can significantly impair your innovation effort, the success of which is largely determined by having the right leaders to drive it.  HR transformation that recognizes diverse talent as more than just “visual diversity,” but actually hones in on diverse thinkers can make all the difference.

4. Borrowing from the corporate playbook. Many fall into the trap of assuming that existing resources and shared services can support innovation in a “plug and play” manner. However, it is exactly this thinking that will stifle your innovation effort. Incubators and other innovation operating models that heavily rely on matrixing to parent resources (e.g., IT, marketing, legal, procurement, D&I, HR) are subject to the same prioritization processes and corporate cost reduction efforts that can hamper the speed of traditional projects. Furthermore, without embracing an entrepreneurial culture (e.g., focus on building MVPs, employing lightweight contracting), the innovation effort risks over-building and over-contracting products for enterprise clients without first having established product-market fit.

5. Failing to keep “fit.” Designing and consistently executing an innovation process that aligns to your overall strategy is hard, and requires commitment and constant vigilance. It is easy to become complacent in enforcing strategic alignment, pursuing attractive business cases despite their failure to align with your organization’s core mission. However, focus is paramount in innovation. A coherent portfolio that supports the organization’s overall strategy, from its innovation strategy to it’s D&I strategy and everything in between, not only ensures executive and board alignment, it can yield positive benefits by enabling your organization to create a compelling case to outside philanthropists, grant-providing organizations, and strategic partners.

We’re happy to help you begin. Take our complimentary mini-assessment to see how your company stacks up against the competition.

Life Sciences Fireside Chat Program Recap

By | #bettertogether, Gender Inclusion, News and Events

Blog recap of Athena Life Sciences Special Interest Group program: Fireside Chat with notable women in science.

Linda Strause, PhD and Sara Gilman, LMFT met because they both enjoy cycling.  They became close friends because, in addition to cycling, they shared a philosophy that life’s challenges could create such deviations from the most direct route to success, that navigating without a map might actually make more sense.

As a scholar of leadership, I often hear inspirational stories about how professionals achieved success.  This is the first time, however, that I have heard a story of the syncopation of two leaders whose paths have intersected with such serendipity, despite the fact that both walked (or rather cycled) their journey without a map and that their respective compasses were not always tracking true north.

Linda, the Principal and Founder of Strategic Clinical Consultants, shared with us that as she was working tirelessly in the field of oncology, her husband was diagnosed with brain cancer.  Sara, the Founder & President of Coherence Associates, Inc.,  shared with us that while she was working zealously as a family therapist to help others to battle addiction, she came to understand that her own son was experiencing his own battle with addiction.  Powerhouses in their own right, each was powerless to “fix” a problem in their own families, related to their respective expertise.  Their work, their cycling, their friendship and their family life worked in unison to help them heal, as well as stay focused on success, as the gentle sway of the road turned at times to hairpin curves.

The sons of both women eventually joined them in their “Mom-Owned Businesses,” and each credits her son with having insight into the business complementary to her own set of skills.

The definition of success varies with the individual.  It would be easy to define both women as a success.  Linda Strause has thirty years of experience in global clinical operations and clinical development in oncology.  Sara Gilman has created a company consisting of a team of counselors and family therapists.  As Sara explained a breathing technique that is used to reinforce the heart’s regulation of emotional response to create mental toughness, Linda ended the Athena session with a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson, “To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”  I might add that to thrive in business, while simultaneously administering to the needs of loved ones, takes great courage.  It would be easy to forsake one for the other, and the extremes of selfishness or selflessness are far more common than the balance between them.

Get more innovative! To augment your own life sciences organization, take a moment to learn more about about our Life Sciences Innovation Labs.

By Denise Hummel, Founder & Chief Innovation Officer, Lead Inclusively, Inc.

 

High Tech: Diverse Ideation is Key to Accelerated Innovation

By | High Tech, Inclusive Innovation

“Tech giants in Silicon Valley are known for pursuing big ideas, changing the world through technology and, unfortunately, a fairly extreme lack of diversity.

But at least one company is taking proactive steps in addressing the problem. In January 2015, Intel’s CEO Brian Krzanich made a bold pledge at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, allocating $300 million to increase diversity within the company and the tech industry at large.

Eighteen months later, the company is making progress on many of its initiatives, while others will require more attention in order to reach the company’s goal of having a workforce that is representative of the U.S.’s working population by 2020.

In the company’s mid-year diversity report, published today, female hires are down slightly from December 2015, from 35.1% to 34.1%. However, 25.4% of Intel employees are female, representing a new record for the company. Underrepresented minority hiring also increased this year, from 11.8% in 2015 to 13.1% in 2016.”Fast Company Article.

But the window remains open for more progressive programs relative to inclusive leadership.  The competition for talent, particularly diverse talent, is fierce, but programs focused on inclusion and that are aimed at enabling diverse ideation, thereby leading to accelerated innovation, will ultimately rule the day. Explore our High Tech Inclusive Innovation Lab to learn how to spark inclusive innovation using the principles of the Stanford d.school’s innovation framework, Design Thinking.

I = SD ÷ F.

By | Inclusive Innovation

Congratulations go out to Clive Sirkin, rejoining the Kellog family.  He is off to an auspicious start and quoted as follows:

“A diverse workforce is a critical driver for further growth. A colleague of mine once shared a formula that I believe is the key to a winning innovation culture: I = SD ÷ F.

Translation: Innovation equals stimulus to the power of diversity divided by fear. Stimulus is the passion to be curious and the desire to learn. It’s a great start, but it is exponentially more powerful if one is open to — and not afraid of — diverse thinking.”  Clive Sirkin, Chief Growth Officer, Kellogg Company