Written by: Ray Pedden

In another post, I outlined five common reasons that innovation efforts fail. Now I ask myself, “How I can increase my chances of succeeding at something that I know I need to do?”

Here are eight ways to improve my success rate within my organization:

  1. Create a sense of urgency around the need to innovate. To paraphrase the old story, when you are on a burning platform in the North Sea, you can burn to death in the fire, or jump into the North Sea and drown, or innovate a new solution.
  2. Crystalize the innovation assignment. Clearly define the target patient group that the innovation will help and what metrics must be measured to know when the intervention is successful.
  3. Create a team that focuses on both the problem and the innovation process. Invite folks for whom the problem is personal and relevant. Invite people that can contribute content and people that can contribute to decision-making. Think about inviting outsiders, even folks from other industries that have successfully dealt with similar issues.
  4. Get both the young stars and the old grey hairs involved. Don’t let leadership sit on the sidelines. They should be along for the journey as participants not observers.
  5. Move fast, iterate often. If the project drags out forever, the team will get tired. Remember, we still have patients to take care of every day and innovation is most often in addition to our other day job. Move fast and show progress.
  6. Get fresh insights to the process. Actively engage in the human centered design process and talk to managers, staff, patients and providers.
  7. Pay attention to the human factors involved in the work process flow. We are going to change how we do what we do. This means that the work flow is likely to change, often change a lot. Take into account the human factors impacted by these required changes.
  8. Finally, celebrate the story. It does not matter if a particular project succeeds or fails. We learn for our failures and should take pride that we tried in the first place. When we do have a success it is party time. Tell the story, good and bad, and make sure that you really celebrate success so that the next project will be easier to get going.

Now that you have a better understanding how to maximize your probability of success, I want you to choose an interesting problem in your organization and create a novel way to solve the problem. I am very interested in hearing how you are doing. As you begin to succeed, share your stories with colleagues outside your organization.