What I was doing…
This past week I spent three days with 70+ future forward movers and shakers in Austin, Texas. Our group, Innovation Learning Network focused on becoming Architects of Better Futures & the Rites of Passage of the 21st Century: the Ten-Year Landscape with The Institute For The Future. Then we looked at Discussing Design Without Losing Your Mind, Smarter Design For Smarter Decisions, and Caregiving 2031.
We also had our minds blown away when we discussed Future Vision from an investment, retail, and culinary arts view. All of these sessions were incredibly thought-provoking and challenging for me as both an innovator and learner. But, what I want to focus on this week is my experience on our Innovation Safari.
Imagine this! You are attending a conference with 70+ healthcare leaders, and you break into groups of six to trek out into the city. Maybe we will go visit a hospital. Maybe a clinic in an underserved area. It must be we are going to go visit a design studio in Austin. Nope!
We went to visit a restaurant. That’s right a good ole` BBQ restaurant. The question I asked myself was, “How is this going to help me in the future when it comes to healthcare?” Let me tell you this; it was mind blowing.
The BBQ establishment we went to visit was Rudy’s owned and operated by K&N Management based out of Austin. This was one of the most impactful afternoons I have ever had. Our team had the privilege to spend an hour with the general manager from the location we visited. He had been with the company for 18 years and worked his way up from a cashier in college, to now as a managing partner. We spent that hour learning about PROCESSES, PROCESSES, PROCESSES.
So what is this? K&N Management has been honored to win the coveted Malcolm Baldridge National Quality award. We learned that “The Love of Excellence” is what has caused this great success. Additionally, that afternoon we met with one of the executives who shared the company’s journey with us. In this session, excellence was the theme. The key learning I walked away with was this; if you focus on one thing, and get everyone in the company focusing on it. You can move the needle!
What I Learned…
So that evening I started thinking how could we apply all of this to a system that lives in processes, but is yet so many light years behind. The next morning as we listened to the discussion on Future Vision – it clicked.
Gary Hoover was speaking to us about consumers, and he made one simple statement, “Whenever the consumer is involved, that’s where innovation is!” Many organizational leaders talk about it, but very few actually practice it. Gary continued and shared the second nugget from that morning.
He stated, “To make a difference in healthcare we need to study the great service organizations of the past and of today!”
Well, I just had done that the day before. Service at its best.
What I Will Do With It…
From both of those experiences, I knew I had to apply them to my day-to-day life and how I could impact and change healthcare for the better. No longer will I bite off the whole system. We will pick one thing, and one thing only. Focus on that, and make a difference.
My teams will look at the past and learn from those before us, but we will also trek into the future with one thing in mind, the consumer – and only the consumer. Whether it is a member, patient, or provider – Focus on one thing and do it well!!!
So, who the he** are we designing for? YOU!