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Innovate Through Pain

Posted by ClearDirections on June 1st, 2011 in Accountable Care Organization, Hospital Management, Innovation | No Comments

Innovation. This buzzword appears to be the key to success in any sector of business today, including healthcare. The ability to thrive in today’s dynamic and fast-paced business environment relies heavily on an organization’s ability to create a competitive advantage by utilizing innovative and cost-effective initiatives. Intuit is a good example of a company that has leveraged its assets to create and devise innovative products and services in the same way healthcare can.

The D4D (Design for Delight) design process implemented by Intuit focuses on identifying and learning from consumers.* The process begins with the “painstorm” in which the company observes and detects customer pain points or problems that should be address and alleviated. After identifying the relevant pain points, a “sol-jam” session is held, where the company challenges the employees to identify solutions that address consumer pain points. Once the solutions are discussed and narrowed down to a relevant few, the company then embarks on the third step in the process, “code-jam.” It is this process that sets Intuit apart and has the most impact on the innovation process.

During this last phase, the company directs their focus toward quickly developing and implementing a rudimentary product or service with the intent of generating feedback from consumers to see how well the product alleviates the target pain point. Intuit recognizes that identifying whether or not a product or service alleviates customer pain points is the most important aspect of the innovation process. Therefore, instead of investing heavily up front on creating a product or service that may meet consumer needs, Intuit focuses on creating and testing a basic form of the product to ensure that it, in fact, does what it is intended to do.

With respect to the healthcare industry, this innovation process may have the largest impact on process improvement by decreasing the lag time between identifying patient pain points in the process and creating new processes to alleviate those problems. As healthcare providers work to alleviate patient pain points, they will simultaneously increase customer loyalty. This is just one way in which healthcare providers could utilize this innovative tool. The process also could be implemented internally by recognizing organizational level pain points for employees and identifying solutions to alleviating those problems. Overall, this simple framework has the potential to fuel innovation in the healthcare industry. For more information on how we help our clients position themselves through innovation, call us at 888-316-1761 or email info@mycleardirections.com.

*Roger L. Martin, “The Innovation Catalysts,” Harvard Business Review (June 2011).

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