From Pipe Dreams to Realities: Creating an Innovative Culture in Healthcare – in conversation with Kevin Hart
Every business leader agrees that innovation is essential to success. But most have different perspectives on how the word is defined.
Kevin Hart, a leading expert on innovation, views it as the ability to turn an idea into a solution — one that adds value to the organization and its customers. Kevin advises health care organizations in creating innovative cultures to address challenges and create lasting value.
Kevin, you mentioned that placing an ‘innovative thinker,’ or a chief innovation officer, is a practice often applied. Yet your idea of truly creating and nurturing an innovative environment is based on another philosophy, that of organic development. How does that work in a day-to-day organization, and how intentional do you have to be about this?
“I believe that innovation isn’t about appointing an innovation officer. It’s about creating an innovative culture.
“A culture of innovation makes space for people to imagine the possibilities — the ‘what ifs’ — and then try them out. Organizations that create this space and support employees in actualizing their ideas are today’s innovators.
“The pursuit of innovation needs to be deliberate — not just something organizations talk about, but something they invest in. The potential for innovation is found everywhere in an organization, and anyone can innovate. You need to figure out how to invite everyone to play and then provide incentives and a pathway to launch their plan.
“In the health care ecosystem, the seeds of innovation are found not only around the clinician table but in every part of the organization. For example, the innovative idea could come from the parking lot attendant on how to get visitors in and out of the building more efficiently. Or from the receptionist about how to help patients feel more at home when they come in for a check-up. Or from the environmental services department about how to protect patients from infection in their hospital rooms.
“How do you jumpstart that process?”
“You need to have catalysts throughout your culture who can help others put forth their idea, get funding for it, try it out, condense it into a business case, and then take it through the bureaucracy. The next thing you know, a simple idea has spread throughout the organization — and beyond.
“At every turn, the culture of innovation is supported by the team. All on the team know they’re valued, regardless of the size of their contribution. They understand how their contribution fits into the big picture.
“Just imagine how you can make people feel if you encourage their ideas and showcase their contributions. Not only are you applauding their initiative; you’re building their loyalty to your organization. That way, they’re more likely to go the extra mile in their work — with an enthusiasm that has a ripple effect on work teams and patients alike.”
Thank you, Kevin, for sharing your perspective.
A seasoned senior executive in the healthcare industry, Kevin Hart has dedicated the next phase of his career to helping transform the U.S. healthcare system. He is well regarded as a collaborative leader with a “big picture” vision and the ability to create and implement innovative strategies for the industry’s future.
Kevin L. Hart - Strategic Implementer
Strategic Implementer - Leading doesn't count if nobody follows