Healthcare: Oh…the Possibilities!?

I remember when I first got on my bike as a child. I was afraid to fall, but the excitement was stronger. I could now see the trees flashing by, rather than look up from underneath. Of course I fell. But then, I never thought, “this is not working, it’s useless”. The quest for possibility is coded inside the double helix of our DNA. So…?

Many times over the years, while working in public healthcare under various assignments, I encountered same pervasive answers to any perceived attempts to change: “We’ve tried it before and it didn’t work”, “We’re already doing this” or the sarcastic smile going with “Good luck with that”.

There are many reasons healthcare workers could be cynical about. There is also some truth to these responses. What is novelty these days?

In healthcare, everything old seems new again: we talk about starting with empathy (design thinking) but even the term “healthcare” includes a human, empathetic attribute to its name: CARE. We organize our working spaces using our logic, and try to remove what is not needed (Lean, 5S). We simplify our work because we are time-strapped and it makes sense (Six Sigma, process mapping). We get “belts” and certifications in common sense methods only to get back to…well, common sense.

If you have not heard about the old buddhist concept of Shoshin, or “beginner’s mind”, no need to worry. In his recent book, Dave Gray reminds us of this concept in a visually appealing way, encouraging to “assume that you are not objective” and to “empty your cup”.

by Dave Gray

What happened with our longing for possibility? Why do we think there is not much out there that we haven’t seen or done before? How can we discount the potential for something different — maybe better?

The issue is not the newness, the novelty. It is all about our perspective.

If we are to survive and move to higher levels, a new type of thinking is essential (paraphrasing Albert Einstein). Perhaps that is why, in extremely innovative environments, one is being told: “We are not interested in your solution, we are interested in the mindset you bring.”

Nicole Verkindt admittedly stated that for the majority of time, VCs do not necessarily invest in one idea, but invest in the human factor, the team, and their drive for innovation. Because investors know that if an idea fails, what is needed is resilience: looking anew at something else, or use a different angle.

Public healthcare has its own challenges to face. At times, I too catch myself questioning everything. And I remember that there is a step beyond questioning, which will bring you to that sweet spot of possibility. I could fall, and yes, I could fail. But what if I could fly…?

What is your motivation behind your response to “new”?

What are you giving up every day when you decline to look at something from a different angle?

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