Written by: Ray Pedden

We’ve always known innovation is hard, but even when you are good at innovating, you may not necessarily be good at building innovation into your organization.

We got a lot of feedback to this effect a couple weeks ago in response to one of Veenu’s weekly emails. These reports from the front lines suggest that safety net organizations are having difficulty justifying innovation unless it is tied to increasing revenue enough to pay the costs within a year. Struggles continue to free up enough staff time to pursue active change. Organizations create silos that isolate quality improvement from innovation and operations from evaluation.

What do we know so far about infusing, sustaining and embedding organizational innovation at all levels, from leadership to frontline staff?

One of the better studies on this topic was published by Deloitte Consulting LLP. In the study, Deloitte found that 92% of the innovative organizations built a system of innovation around four key components:

  1. Approach
  2. Organization
  3. Resources & competencies
  4. Metrics & incentives

The study includes several examples of how these four key components are expressed in healthcare organizations that are deeply involved in innovation. The basic principles are applicable to our efforts in the safety net.

I urge everyone to review and learn from the Deloitte study. It provides a roadmap to begin to answer whether we are fundamentally ready to get serious about innovation.

Many might argue that the safety net is different from the organizations Deloitte studied, and the findings in the study only apply to healthcare organizations outside the safety net that are not as resource constrained as we are. I would argue that because we are resource constrained, these principles are more important in the safety net. We must address these challenges if we are to be successful in continuing to care for our patients. Please let me know how you think we might apply these principles broadly in the safety net.

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