4 Ways to Improve Innovation Outcomes


Many organizations are struggling with innovation. The struggles range from deciding an organization’s definition of innovation to the processes it takes to make innovation work.  It doesn’t have to be this confusing! However, the confusion is understandable.

While writing this I decided to Google the term innovation.  Google returned 569,000,000 results in 1.01 seconds.  Filtering that to books reduced this to only 2,550,000 in .43 seconds.  There are 13,300,000 videos on innovation. No wonder we are struggling to decide organizational definitions and approaches. 

My definition of innovation is taking an idea to a meaningful and measurable outcome for someone who has a Job to be Done. The Job to be Done theory comes from Clayton Christensen et.al’s book Competing Against Luck.  A job, as defined by Dr. Christensen, is the progress someone is trying to make in a particular circumstance.  In my view, the key to innovating is to understand the Job to be Done in a person’s work or personal life. 

RELATED: The Art of Storytelling and Innovation

Innovation has been on my mind and a key part of my job for many years.  My desire is to help organizations improve their innovation outcomes.  To improve innovation outcomes an organization needs a few key things.

  1. A theory.  The theory that I believe is most effective for framing innovation efforts is Clayton Christensens’s Jobs to be Done. 
  2. A mindset: The foundations of healthcare innovation from my perspective are empathy and curiosity.
  3. A Toolset for vetting ideas: The toolset and approach I have found to produce evidence based innovation, specifically for startups and/or startins:
    1. Alex Osterwalder’s Business Model Canvas
    2. Alex Osterwalder’s Value Proposition Design Canvas
    3. Steve Blank’s competitive pedal diagram
    4. Eric Von Hippel’s Lead User innovation
  4. A Skillset: the skillset contains the following and more:
    1. Asking Questions
    2. Observing
    3. Hypothesis writing and testing
    4. Storytelling
    5. Teamwork: innovation is a team sport

Over the coming months I will delve into each of these areas. The thing I think we need to do in the innovation space, especially healthcare, is to create an Innovation Process Model. That model will contain some of the above content and more as we learn over time. In creating an innovation process model we will have the necessary language for explaining innovation to healthcare leaders and caregivers. That language and partnership will make care safer, higher quality, a better experience, more accessible, and affordable.