May 23, 2020
We tend to approach innovation from our professional perspectives - this means that we solve problems in the way our industry is trained and configured to fix them, effectively how we’ve always done it. But most problems are multifaceted and need broader thinking if we want to be truly disruptive.
In health we tend to be highly educated, highly trained and relatively highly paid. All of this tends to confine our thinking and encourage us to do what we have always done. If I am a medic I have been at medical school for 4 years and spent 3 to 7 years in hospitals learning my profession. This means that I’m highly trained to deploy what I’ve been taught, which is what has been rolled out for decades or even longer. If I am a pharmaceutical worker then again I’m highly educated often with a second or third degree, I work in a system that develops medicines in a very standardised way, and I have massive infrastructure in labs and factories all around the world. This means that I’m highly biased to solve problems by giving people medicines using my training delivered with my infrastructure.
The people who are disrupting the health sector do not have this bias and are thinking about how to improve health not from a bias of using their medical training, or by giving pharmaceutical products. These disruptors are looking at the real problems and working out how to improve them.
Take FitBit. Arguably they have improved people’s health more widely than most pharma companies have, because they have made people more physically active. Physical activity is beneficial in almost every aspect of our health. It is highly unlikely that a medic or a pharma company would’ve come up with the idea of FitBit because of their respective professional, training and infrastructure biases. Thinking DIFFERENTLY and approaching problems from a new perspective produces innovation.
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