How the busiest people in the world (don’t) innovate?


I can’t believe that it’s been two weeks since we hosted our joint meetup event, around “How the busiest people in the world (don’t) innovate?”, and I still constantly think about the tremendous impact of taking those dreaded meetings and making them a focal point for innovation. Todd Ponsky’s story how he transformed Cincinnati Children’s Hospital’s Morbidity and Mortality (MM) meetings into Morbidity, Mortality, and Innovation (MM&I) resonates with so much that I’ve seen in corporations. Basically, M&M meetings are known to be a regulatory-mandated critical-yet-intimidating event in the lives of surgeons where one presents what they did wrong while treating a patient and receiving a bad outcome. Having their peers attack and dissect the situation is meant to be a source of continuous improvement and sometimes even works. Replacing M&M with a new organizational process, MM&I, shifted the focus from harping on everything that went wrong to indicating areas for new solutions and innovation(s) in process or product and then co-ideating these new solutions with peers in a non-threatening and energetic environment.

When you take a meeting (team meeting, performance reviews, daily standup, whatever) and convert it from “the worst place to be” into “the place to be!” by using innovation as a tool to change the experience and to redesign the meeting itself, it has such a strong impact! I’ve been sharing this example with my clients ever since. I realize, in hindsight, that this is essentially a classic demonstration of SIT’s Qualitative Change Principle. Rather than minimize the suffering and annoyance from an event, take the most problematic elements and make them the most beneficial contributors to an ideal solution.

What really sticks out for me is that Todd believes that it could never have become such a success (now many more departments are copying the model and patented solutions have emerged from the meetings) had the Systematic Inventive Thinking method not been the vehicle for finding solutions during these meetings. It is the built-in structure of SIT’s ideation process that helps the ridiculously busy world-experts arrive at ideas so efficiently that their time investment is used to the maximum. And they notice it!

So not only is no one attacking them anymore, but they realize that they are being super-productive and doing their part to contribute new gold standards to saving people’s lives. Truly amazing!

How are you using innovation to make your business thrive? Do you also find structured processes make things more effective and efficient? What is your version of transforming “the worst place to be” into “the place to be!”? And what are your tips for engaging the busiest people in your organization to contribute their crucial knowledge to innovation initiatives?

Yael Manor

Yael Manor is a facilitator and key accounts manager at SIT. Yael specializes in managing large scale innovation programs within multinational organizations. She designs training programs for the development of hundreds of innovation coaches, while weaving together the necessary company architecture to support innovation making it into a well-oiled machine. In short, Yael puts both the "organize" and "innovation" in organizational innovation. Yael facilitates and lectures worldwide. She is adept at working with people from different cultures and backgrounds, appreciating how people or companies relate to innovation and knowing how to help them push the envelope. Yael's vast knowledge of the SIT methodology stems from her joining SIT back in 2002. Alongside her work at SIT, Yael pursued her degree in law. After passing the bar, Yael spent time building her legal career, working for top Tel Aviv law firms as a legal consultant specializing in real estate, planning and zoning law and court litigation, to both public and private sectors. After a few years break, Yael returned to SIT, with her experience leading her to the role she holds today. Yael holds an MBA (Cum Lauda) majoring on Management and Business Psychology, and LLB and a BA in Psychology.

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