Healthcare Innovation is Social

 Is social media the first step to testing the healthcare appetite for open innovation?  In other words, what is the likelihood of those in the healthcare industry to look beyond collaboration and engage with external resources to develop new products and services?  After reading A Guide To Open Innovation and Crowdsourcing, edited by Paul Sloane,  I was challenged to think about the mindset for shaking things up and how to creatively reach across industry segments to generate ideas.

Open Innovation (OI), is described in the book as a concept developed by Henry Chesbrough, as a step beyond collaboration, where external rblueesources are harnessed to work alongside a team to develop new products and services.   Crowdsourcing as an extrapolation of OI, where a challenge is presented to a group of people, known or unknown, to solicit their ideas and solutions.  Contributor, Renee Hopkins, takes a deep dive into the definition and models of crowdsourcing and emphasizes that if done right, the benefits are “unparalleled” and speaks to “it’s power to disrupt.” 

Healthcare may be the perfect environment for crowdsourcing and OI, because, as the GAO indicates, we are on an ‘unsustainable path’.  Running out of time and money is a fairly significant incentive to test our capacity to innovate and willingness to reach out.  I do believe that we are seeing the rise of physician entrepreneurs, mHealth innovators, and focused startup companies during this time of market transition and uncertainty – and who better to lead the way, than those who look through the lens of real people, in the real world, where good ideas come from.  These visionaries, could indeed, be laying the foundation for our next generation of healthcare solutions, and they are, engaging with one another online, sharing ideas and forming tribes.

But, there are companies that need and want to evolve and for those, Braden Kelley, in his chapter, The Importance of a Strategic Approach to Open Innovation, reminds us that “innovation is social” and that “great innovators make connections to other industries and other disciplines to help create the great insights that inspire great solutions.”  At the end of the day, innovation will come from those thought leaders that are thinking differently about how to lower costs, drive quality and satisfaction.  Over the next few weeks, I hope that you will join me as we speak to some of the contributors of this book…stay tuned!


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