Innovation in Healthcare: Overcoming Organizational Physics for Change and Growth

June 7, 2016  |  Joel English


I just came back from the Healthcare Marketing and Physician Strategies Summit in Chicago.

Among the many interesting (and challenging) presentations was a speech by Jeremy Gutsche, author and CEO of TrendHunter. He shared insights on Innovation (Titled “Better and Faster: The Proven Path to Unstoppable Ideas) that were very thought provoking.

I must admit I come to the subject of innovation in healthcare with a decided bias. I have been working in the healthcare provider industry for close to three decades and have long been struck by how the industry is so slow to innovate and fast to imitate.

So it is no surprise that I wholeheartedly agree with the premise of Jeremy’s presentation, that we in healthcare, when it comes to innovation, have to get “better and faster.” A rapidly changing healthcare world demands a new level of customer intimacy and flexibility, as well as new disciplines that are currently rare in such a change-resistant industry.

One of Jeremy’s ideas that I found enlightening was his distinction between senior leaders as “farmers” or “hunters.” Farmers focus on:

Hunters, on the other hand:

Most senior healthcare leaders I have encountered fall into the “Farmer” category. Changing times demand a change in how we succeed moving forward in a new and uncertain world. I believe that focusing only on replicating last year’s practices will not lead us to the change necessary to succeed in this new world.

In short, we need more hunters.

Enter the marketers.

What can we do as marketing leaders to help drive innovation? We need to be pragmatic and unrelenting:

It strikes me that, if we continue with “more of what we are doing today but harder” thinking, I fear that one day we will find that others have innovated around us and that we didn’t wise up until it was too late to jump out of the boiling water.

BVK’s healthcare work reflects decades of experience working with clients as they navigate innovation and change in the industry. Check out some of the work we’ve done for our healthcare industry clients here.


is a Managing Partner, BVK Health

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