Stories about: innovation culture

Health care in a hyper-connected world: Cisco’s Carlos Dominguez

Part of a series of videotaped sessions from Boston Children’s Hospital’s Global Pediatric Innovation Summit + Awards 2014.

Carlos Dominguez is a technology evangelist, social media maven and a Senior VP at the IT company Cisco Systems, Inc. In this animated keynote presentation, he poses the question: how can health care organizations innovate in a world transformed by the web, social media and mobile phones, where “distance is dead,” knowledge is totally democratized and kids are born digital? Innovation isn’t luck, he contends, it’s a discipline that should work its way into an organization’s DNA.

Click here for full coverage of the Global Pediatric Innovation Summit. Videos are also available on YouTube.

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Four attributes of an innovation culture

Fried_NaomiNaomi Fried, PhD, Chief Innovation Officer at Boston Children’s Hospital, will lead a panel on Innovation Acceleration at Taking on Tomorrow: Global Pediatric Innovation Summit + Awards (October 30-31, Seaport World Trade Center, Boston). Register now!

The word innovation gets thrown around a lot these days by people trying to set their products and ideas apart in the marketplace. But when everything is innovative, is anything really innovative? And if there really are innovative ideas, are they simply flashes of brilliance that can’t be planned for or predicted?

The answer to this last question is “no,” as I see every day at Boston Children’s Hospital, where I lead the Innovation Acceleration Program. The real trick is creating an innovation culture that supports great ideas—but that also supports the not-so-great ideas that teach us almost as much.

So what are the attributes of an innovation culture?

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6 ways to stifle a culture of innovation

Extinguishing innovation
The bigger the idea, the greater the risk of failure.

Bruce Zetter, PhD, is the Charles Nowiszewski Professor of Cancer Biology at Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School and a member of Boston Children’s Vascular Biology program. He has made significant contributions to cancer research and worked as Chief Scientific Officer at Boston Children’s Hospital.  A frequent advisor to biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, Zetter will be master of ceremonies at Boston Children’s Hospital’s Global Pediatric Innovation Summit + Awards (Oct 30-31, 2014).

By now, we have all seen a surfeit of articles on how to foster a culture of innovation in the workplace. Unfortunately, with our words, actions and tone of voice, most of us do just the opposite; we stifle innovation at every turn.

For the record, I run a cancer research lab at Boston Children’s Hospital, and innovation is our stock-in-trade, the one quality on which our performance as scientists is measured. There are no silver medals for coming in second in science. Yet even professional innovators can stifle the creative urge in their colleagues, their direct reports and even in their supervisors.

It’s easy to thwart a culture of innovation. Here are a few ways it can be done:

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Innovation: Keeping the flame alive

(Quinn Dombrowski/Flickr)

I spent my Valentine’s Day with the people I love — the wonderful, creative, hardworking innovators at Children’s Hospital Boston. Excitement, curiosity and, yes, love were in the air as guests came to hear about emerging clinical innovation projects at Children’s first annual Innovation Day.

It was a chance to recognize and celebrate 17 quiet heroes. Innovators often feel isolated, and for some last week, it was the first time they and their ideas had been acknowledged publicly. Some were meeting each other for the first time.

Children’s has a long and rich history of innovation, born of the need to care for our small patients. From Mary Ellen Avery‘s discovery of the lack of lung surfactant in premature babies to Judah Folkman’s path-breaking work on angiogenesis, history shows that innovation, then as now, requires perseverance.

While being an innovator may seem glamorous, and while we idolize celebrity innovators like Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg, the truth is that innovation is really hard work.

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Innovation: Is it just lightning in a bottle?

Innovation isn't simply random flashes of brilliance, but requires a culture that supports great ideas while allowing the freedom to fail.

The word innovation gets thrown around a lot these days by people trying to set their products and ideas apart from everything else out there. But when everything is innovative, is anything really innovative? And if there really are innovative ideas out there, are they simply flashes of brilliance that can’t be planned for or predicted?

The answer to this last question is “no,” as I see every day as Chief Innovation Officer here at Children’s Hospital Boston. The real trick is creating an innovation culture that supports great ideas – but that also supports the not-so-great ideas that teach us almost as much.

So what are the attributes of an “innovation culture”?

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