Innovation: A Playbook That Lets Boards, Leaders Achieve Health System Success

Reprinted with permission from the April 2016 issue of Trustee magazine, vol. 69, no. 4. © 2016 by Health Forum Inc. Permission granted for digital use only.

By David Crosswhite and Todd W. Fitz, with Mary K. Totten

Innovation can fuel the organizational agility necessary to achieve breakthrough levels of value and performance in health care. This Workbook describes a four-step process that health system boards and leaders can use to develop a sustainable innovation capability. Drawing techniques and perspectives from health care and other fields, the approach facilitates organization-specific solutions.

Additionally, it enables board members and executive teams to:

• Understand the conditions and processes that foster innovation.

• Think differently about new delivery models or concepts.

• Critically assess the strategic, financial and operational potential of ideas.

• Proactively test, scale and optimize new concepts.

• Effectively manage innovation, ensuring thoughtful use of resources for performance improvement over time.

The approach works for organizations that do not yet have an innovation process as well as those with innovation programs in need of enhancement. Although helpful, organizational scale is not required. Both large and small hospital systems can participate. This “playbook” doesn’t imply that innovation is easily accomplished. It isn’t. But it provides a structure within which to begin or advance innovation efforts. Understanding what innovation is and how to achieve it is a critical first step for health care boards and leaders.

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