Written by: Ray Pedden

When we talk about innovation, we are not just talking about the new widget that is going to solve our current problem. We are talking about all of the factors that impact the current problem—including human factors.

Did you know that about 70 percent of all innovations are failures? This means that only about 30 percent are actually successful. Sometimes it is a huge project that never gets successfully implemented. Sometimes it is a small initiative that is used for a while and then abandoned. The real damage of these failures is a loss of time and productivity. If we planned for the impact on the human factors as much as we plan for the cost of technology implementation, we would be so much better off.

So what human things can I do today to better practice breakthrough innovation?

First, look at your organization’s capability to support ongoing innovation. If you are the only one that really wants to do something different and something really innovative, that is going to be a really long and tough road to go down.

Look around and find the group of people that are really interested in trying out new ways of doing things and make them part of your team. When things get interesting, it is good to know that your whole team feels the same way that you do. Find these people in different parts of the organization so that you can understand the different impacts of your project.

Figure out a way to make sure that every employee has some “skin in the game”. They need to see that finding a new approach is better for the organization and your patients, even if they have to change the way that they do what they do.

Spend time with people in the organization explaining not just “this is how this innovation works”, but “this is what we need to do, this is how it impacts our workflow and our patients, and these are the steps that we need to go through in order to really understand the impact of this innovation.”

Finally, spend some time talking with your team about out what constitutes a success at the beginning of the project. Most times we think that if we can just get it to go we’ve won. It takes a savvy innovator to do more than that.

If we are going to get on the road towards breakthrough innovation, we have to remember that we aren’t the only ones in the car. Consider your fellow co-pilots, and your passengers, and you can go further, faster—and make it a more pleasant trip.