MedStar Health Institute for Innovation (MI2) Invites Associates To “Think Differently”Posted: October 16, 2012
“Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought.” Albert Szent-Györgyi
Last week, Dr. Mark Smith, Director of MedStar Health’s Institute for Innovation (MI2), and his team, invited ~250 MedStar associates to “think differently,” during a day of inspiration and thought-provoking presentations meant to catalyze innovation in healthcare. The foundational premise at MI2 is that there exists a tremendous amount of untapped creative capital at MedStar and healthcare in general, and by encouraging all to “think differently,” solutions to yet unsolved healthcare challenges can be uncovered. Smith designed MI2 to thrive in the thinking space, reframing existing healthcare challenges by aiming intentional thought from new directions, changing altitude–literally and figuratively–as needed. The Institute’s tag line keeps them in the company of easily recognized game changing organizations such as IBM’s “Think” and Apple’s, “Think different”.
The Innovations Day “Early Bird” session kicked off the day’s agenda with Steven Johnson’s TED Talk, Where Good Ideas Come From (see below). The basis of Johnson’s talk is that good ideas take time to grow, and need to be nourished and built upon by others. Those Eureka! moments aren’t reality, according to Johnson, but the process can be accelerated by tapping into the liquid networks of knowledge that surround us–and why the MI2 team was encouraging all in their audience to celebrate the individual expertise in the room.
Dr. Ed Tori, aka The Patient Whisperer, followed with his talk on influence, Seduction Artists, Con Men & Cult Leaders, and How They Can Save Healthcare. Tori uses his growing mastery of influence to connect the head, heart and gut–not only with his patients, but his colleagues and kids as well. “Who wants broccoli?” takes on a whole new meaning in the Tori household when suggested with enthusiasm, authenticity, and a “go first” attitude. Influence, Tori shared, is about managing states and emotions. If you can change the mood, the mind will follow, but connecting on an emotional level is a must and the way to build the rapport needed to engender a following. While this may be a new skill set for many who studied the sciences, it is one that can be learned if the mind and the heart are willing.
Each encounter with a patient is a gift and an opportunity to connect, Tori also reminded the audience. Don Berwick has spoken on this very topic more than once (Google Don Berwick Yale Medical School Address). Care providers are often thrust into their patients’ lives at a time they are most vulnerable. As such, a patient’s authenticity detector is on high alert, per Mark Smith. The words you choose during these highly charged moments of opportunity can make all the difference–whether the patient leaves with a burden lifted, a mother’s concerns are gently eased, or a grandfather returns home with heightened anxiety because he never asked the question weighing heavy on his heart. As a writer, the following YouTube video shared by Tori last week, was a splendid reminder of the impact words can have–simply by altering their order or emphasis. Written, spoken or withheld–words have the power to create meaning that previously did not exist, turn strangers into those with a common purpose, and improve the well-being of others. Which words will you choose to change healthcare for the better? Please share them.