Introducing healthcare innovation is full time work, and like many healthcare organisations we are always in the process of introducing new innovations. Here is the first part in a few blogs about introducing innovation:
Collecting, surviving and thriving from “NO”
Bring new healthcare ideas into life requires collecting rejection. No matter what heavily delusional cheerleading we throw at the subject of rejection, it just isn’t fun. It is much easier to hear how brilliant you are then to be rejected. Hearing that your proposal isn’t interesting, impactful, useful or is not worth someone’s resources, time or money is tough medicine.
..but yet collecting NO’s and thriving from them is everything, so how to cope. When introducing a new idea we suggest don’t run towards rejection, tip toe, and stage your rejection.
How to stage your “NO’s”
1. Google: Try and see if Google will reject you or convince you to reject yourself. Google (search) every version of your idea and concept let google try and reject it. Let google tell you what the public thinks of your idea, who is pursuing similiar ideas, and alternative solutions that are already out there. In healthcare Google knows quite a bit.
2. Confidants: Socialise to people that have a unique skill, the ability to reserve judgement. Build a network of people with unique insights that have the confidence to listen and absorb without jumping to a conclusion about your nascient idea. Ask them for angles, perspectives, similar experiences, a list of potential challenges or unexplored opportunities. This is so critical in healthcare, because of the share complexity of health systems. This network should have seen it all in healthcare, but somehow survived unjaded and serene.
3. Clinical Experts: Your idea has survived Google and your Confidants and you are as excited and energised as ever, now bring it to the technical experts, clinicians. These are people that are experts in the space that can tell you what is not on Google, how your idea might live and look in the real world of patients and hospitals. This group should be highly technical, aware of challenges and obstacles, but perhaps less concerned about the business models or viability of a new business. Let them tell you how to build it and steer you to a better version of your original idea.
4.Friendly Customers: If you have not done so already, you need to get your idea into the the hands of a friendly customer for a candid interaction. These friendly customers in the world of health are often called “Payors”. Expose the idea and just watch them, see where they focus, see what they compare it to, and see what they ignore.
5. Team: Every new idea needs a team and if you did everything above, you should have inspired a few people to join you in trying to breathe life into your idea. Take all the feedback and re-present your latest ideas and plans back to the people that want to help you build it, then listen and watch their reaction to the latest version. Do they look more eager to follow or less, why?
6. The Critic: Now you are ready for your first real NO, but your idea won’t be killed in one fell swoop of criticism. Everyone you have spoken to date was as interested in helping you, but you need a true critic or an evaluator. This critic could be a payor, hospital,customer, an investor, or a taste maker. They should have resources and influence at their disposal and the ability to say YES or NO. They are not passing judgement on your idea, only on whether your idea will get their time, resources, influence or business. They are evaluting your project versus all the other options that have been recently presented to them, they are not evaluating your project in isolation.
..and you get your NO, you did it, congratulations, they didn’t waiver of defer they just said NO! You’ve achieved more than most will ever achieve. Now you know how to get a real NO. Feel the pain of the NO don’t reject it. Remember, the NO defines the critic more then the cook. You were asking for their resources, and for a few brief moments they could have said YES, the taste of winning was right in front of you. Now, find your next big meeting you are almost ready for a YES.
“In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face, is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the new. The world is often unkind to new talent, new creations, the new needs friends…” Anton the critic from Ratatouille