Cleveland Clinic CIO Edward Marx’s Voices of Innovation is a field guide on everything it takes to get your health system to move. I got the opportunity to speak with Ed, and he made his purpose clear, “While I do believe this is a field manual and you can learn from others and copy them, it’s going to work best if you yourself are innovative so that you’re comfortable with change.” He combines stories from great innovators at places like Intermountain, Allscripts, Cleveland Clinic, and many others to drive innovation for his readers.
The guide, “Create Roadmaps,” is awesome because it provides a way to create, validate, and communicate an innovation roadmap. It uses stories from major healthcare innovators: Mt. Sinai Health System’s VP/IT Application Strategy, Kristin Myers, Microsoft’s Director of Worldwide Health, Tom Lawry, & more.
It’s interesting how this collection of separately written essays combines to form a powerful set of steps that you can use as your Innovation Roadmap Checklist!
1 – Enter the Prioritization Matrix
Damo Consulting CEO Paddy Padmanabhan outlines a great approach to begin thinking about how to prioritize the innovations on the horizon for your roadmap.
Which of these categories do you think is going to be most appealing to leadership/C-Suite? The “Near-term Wins” category tends to be the best bet; minimizes risk/resources while maximizing impact. These wins help you earn trust as you grow into bigger projects. An example that Ed shared was building an app at Texas Health. “People liked it, and people used it. It built credibility, so when we asked for more money, we were given more to continue to develop the app.”
If you’d like to plot this for your own innovations, there’s a simple way to do it. Use your favorite spreadsheet software (Excel, Google Sheets, pandas, etc.) to create three columns, Item, Effort, and Impact. List the items and then rank the anticipated effort & impact on a 0-10 scale. Use your software’s “Scatter Chart” feature (x-axis=Effort, Y-axis=impact), divide into quadrants, and voila! You now have a solid way to visualize and prioritize your innovation efforts.
2 – Stakeholder Discovery and Inventory
Is there potential that something on your innovation roadmap is already in place or planned at another part of the organization?
This is the time to ask stakeholders in other departments and find out the level of access and capability for your use cases.
This is an important step for several reasons:
- It’s an early start to socialize your plans
- It breaks down silos
- It can help uncover more near-term wins
In healthcare especially, there’s no shortage of systems and logins. Use this phase to make the most out of your present investments, socialize potential investments to help others in your org, and minimize the login/password fatigue.
3 – Identify Success Factors
Kristin Myers, VP/IT Application Strategy at Mt. Sinai Health System, shows how to drive more innovation by establishing a governance structure. Many believe that structure & roadmaps are counterintuitive to innovation, but Ed commented, “It’s okay to have structure around innovation. If you’re too open with innovation, then nothing happens.”
One major component of innovation governance is identifying what’s going to be necessary to drive adoption for the items on your innovation roadmap. These tend to fall into some common categories:
- Ability to Solve the Problem
- Impact on Current Workflow
How many decisions have you seen come through the organization without a rigorous focus on the items above? Good governance principles focus on establishing & measuring criteria early on. Adhering to strong baseline standards helps protect against bad decisions.
4 – Find the Villain
The New Yorker’s adaptation of Kurt Vonnegut’s graph on the shapes of stories
Bill Russel, founder of Health Lyrics, heavily focused on how to tell the story to get buy-in for your innovations.
The stories that stick with us the most tend to follow a path very similar to Kurt Vonnegut’s chart above. These stories also tend to have a villain that needs to be vanquished.
While your hospital probably doesn’t have any wicked witches or evil dragons, there is no shortage of issues that could be the “villain” in your narrative. Intermountaain Healthcare’s CEO, Dr. Marc Harrison, addressed healthcare inequalities by zip code as a villain. Deborah Proctor and Rod Hochman, then CEOs of St. Joseph Health & Providence Health respectively, identified a lack of mental health resources as a villain to be slain by their eventual merger.
Physician burnout? Patients lacking access? It’s important to choose the right villain and be clear about your approach to vanquish it.
5 – Present in Small Groups
Presenting in small groups allows you to understand what resonates about your message and tighten your narrative as you learn more.
Kyra Hagan of RxBenefits had a great quote – “Think big, start small, move fast.”
Working in small groups with stakeholders will help drive the early feedback and conversations that will help your innovations get adoption and support.
To help avoid the problems that plague many PowerPoint presentations, this is a quick guide on a different way to approach building your deck: PowerPoint Pointers.
6 – Use Video to Validate Your Vision
Bill Russel’s section concludes with examples of the health systems that have used video to inspire change and promote their intended innovations.
Video resonates faster than shared decks & documents, and when people share the video internally, you don’t miss the context you’re trying to convey.
These videos don’t have to be major productions. Though some health systems have dropped upwards of $20k on videos, Intermountain Healthcare used free online tools for a video that was impactful & engaging to change their physician engagement strategy.
“Create Roadmaps” cited several different authors, but it’s easy to draw a thread between all their work and create a checklist for your innovations.
This provides a simple place to start, and you can use it to identify fail points or success factors in your pathway to innovation:
- Create a Prioritization Matrix
- Take Inventory – Learn what efforts are already underway
- Identify Success Factors – Establish criteria
- Find the Villain, Build a Narrative
- Present in Small Groups
- Use Video to Validate Your Vision
To get the full perspective on driving innovation and many other topics to make moves at your health system, Ed’s full book is available here: Voices of Innovation
Ed shared additional insights in our conversation so we’ll be releasing the audio! Stay tuned to get the full conversation in the coming weeks.
If you need help crafting the innovation checklist for patient engagement or population health initiatives in your health system, reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org.