Innovation Horizons | Innovation Mojo @ Georgetown: Tomorrow’s Health Systems Leadership. Today.
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Innovation Mojo @ Georgetown: Tomorrow’s Health Systems Leadership. Today.

Innovation Mojo @ Georgetown: Tomorrow’s Health Systems Leadership. Today.

“Massive changes ahead.” Those words are found on the street signs of every path leading to the future of America’s health care delivery enterprise. Preparing for the transformation to value-based payment, dominance of data and information technology, rise of designer patient care experiences, and intense pressures to adopt emerging medical technologies, are just a few of the vexing challenges on health care institutions’ board meeting agendas. Executives of all types in the health care sector are looking to build institutional competencies for innovation and entrepreneurship to ensure relevance and sustainable futures.

John Lock, Entrepreneur-in-Residence, Medstar Institute for Innovation and Georgetown University alumni (left) and Greg Downing (right) speak to course participants.

Recently, I’ve served as the course director of the Business Innovation Module for the Executive Masters in Science in Health Systems Administration at Georgetown University’s Department of Health Systems Administration. This year’s class met in an intensive setting for a week-long immersion into innovation and entrepreneurship with an emphasis on open innovation and design thinking. The nearly three dozen students participating represent experienced leaders from health care delivery systems, non-profit research organizations, pharma and biotechnology industries, consulting firms, and a small group from the University of Sao Paolo (Brazil). Each of the students has come to this learning community with vast experiences, emotional intelligence, and business acumen that provides the strength for them to open their minds to new thinking and willingness to grow new muscles in their careers.

The culture of leadership at Georgetown University (GU) provides a safe space that enables one to fortify deep thinking not only about the roles we all serve but the important imprints our work leave on our patients, customers, peers, and society. Our experiences together examined key strategies and tools that arm health care leaders with sound capabilities to lead change in their workplace. Seeking common goals, we used an empathic approach to understand the perspectives of others, and examine new solutions (often controversial) to problems of incredibly complex dimensions.

This semester, our work together is underpinned by three pillars: design thinking strategies; ‘deep dives’ in community innovation practices that create a culture of health, and instruction on practical policy playbooks geared toward health executives. Our structured learnings and practicum in design thinking is led by Kat Esser, Patient Experience Lab Director, Business Innovation Factory who captivates us with her super powerful insights and practical methods for patient-centered health care innovations. Our business development is strengthened by the design engineering solutions of serial entrepreneur, Dean Hovey, now CEO of Comprendo, a innovation patient-centered healthcare firm. Our class is supported by practical on-site experiences by the amazing talent at the MedStar Institute for Innovation and we acknowledge Mark Smith and John Lock for their commitment to leadership development. Participation in our program also provides experiences with challenge competitions, and intensive discussions with national policy leaders, business executives, and patients.

This course applies unique experiences for health care leaders with opportunities and guidance to build their skills and experiences in design thinking to meet opportunities they encounter in their work or social environment, and render that problem solvable through a business case canvas that they develop. The course emphasizes the build-test-analyze rapid design prototyping method to optimize time and resources while seeking solutions. Our work together in creating a minimally-viable prototype is strengthened by an eager community that generously provides constructive and experienced feedback – often the most valued ingredient of the innovator’s journey.

Our class’ intensive experiences this week are helping build a vibrant and engaging pathway for a community of health care leaders who value innovation and entrepreneurship in their organizations. Georgetown innovation mojo – a rewarding contribution toward better roads for health care in America.

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