By: Rob Hoehn
I hadn’t thought much about health pathology innovation until we started to work with a statewide health pathology service in Australia. They provide pathology, forensic, and analytical services for hospitals and justice systems throughout their state.
In fact, more than half the population of New South Wales has used their services in the last 12 months (around 70% of medical decisions rely on pathology). And, of course, with an organization that is charged with such important and life-altering research, innovation is a critical practice.
In our most recent conversation with the innovation leaders at NSW Health Pathology, they outlined their thinking on several key subjects: the intersection between people and innovation, awards and recognition, the stages of innovation, incremental vs. transformative change and more, but in learning how their group facilitates innovation across their four thousand employees, I was most interested in learning about the “Three C’s” of Organizational change and how that drives their strategy and activity. Here are the “Three C’s” that you can apply as the pillars of your innovation strategy today.
Culture (values, understanding, and mindsets). Many people are looking to build a culture of innovation, but this is a multi-pronged effort that requires time in order to take root. For NSW Health Pathology, this is about finding ways to live their values in how they include different voices and celebrate milestones, but it’s also about developing a common understanding between so many different offices and operations that have only recently been integrated and giving them the right mindsets. Through training, communications, and results – innovation leaders can begin to influence organization-wide culture shifts.
Capability (knowledge and training). Ideas are only as good as they are actionable. If you have an idea about blockchain, but no one on your team knows anything about blockchain, then it doesn’t do you much good. You’ll either have to source applicable talent or enjoy the process of learning and discovery with the team and tools that you do have. This fits likewise with any idea that an innovation team identifies – you need to invest in the people and tools that will steward that idea to its end state.
Capacity (the resources to make it happen). For many people, resources equate to the people and budget that is applied to new ideas. However, making space for innovation is just as much about deciding what you’re NOT going to do as what you are going to do so that people have the time, headspace, and funding that they need to explore new ideas. Oftentimes, organizations will set aside a dedicated budget or a seasoned group of technologists who can develop, prototype, and launch great new innovations, but (more often) IdeaScale finds that our customers are nurturing part-time intrapreneurs who regard their work as a passion project or learning opportunity. Companies need to make sure that they make space for these intrapreneurs to participate in the process by taking some of their nonessential work OFF their plates.
When you’re an innovation service center for an organization – you’ll need to work on all three of those C’s, but you’ll also find that one C might be easier than others (for example, maybe you’ve got a great brand and easily attract bright, new talent, but it’s hard to shift thinking, because of your inherited work culture). Spend your time working on the most difficult C first and then use that progress to sow success with the other two.
To learn more about NSW Health Pathology and their fresh approach to innovation, listen to the full podcast interview.
About the Author
Rob Hoehn is the co-founder and CEO of IdeaScale: the largest open innovation software platform in the world. Hoehn launched crowdsourcing software as part of the open government initiative and IdeaScale’s robust portfolio now includes many other industry notables, such as EA Sports, NBC, NASA, Xerox and many others. Prior to IdeaScale, Hoehn was Vice President of Client Services at Survey Analytics.