Have you ever wondered if your senior management is interested in hearing your innovative ideas? During the 1990’s when companies responded to a survey asking what kinds of people they looked for during difficult times, here is how some responded:
Merck: looks for risk takers who promote doing something different
Southwest Airlines: looks for people with a sense of humor, creativity and individuality
Humana: Urges employees to make individual decisions depending on the circumstance.
Unilever: Promotes employees who do whatever is necessary to accelerate innovation
The common element in these responses is that companies prefer employees who can identify problems and find innovative solutions. Beyond repairing devices, what problems can you identify and what solutions can you offer to your hospital?
In a recent article, a former CEO of a 600-bed New Jersey hospital has written that; “Front line employees have a unique perspective and are able to indentify effective solutions to everyday challenges”. She, like most effective leaders, understood that her hospital’s department heads and employees were the best people to find solutions to the problems faced by her organization. If she and other hospital CEOs rely on their front line employees for solutions to everyday challenges, why is it that so many biomedical managers complain that they are not allowed to innovate? When this happens, does the fault lie with the hospital’s senior management, or dies it lie with the Biomedical Department head?
If management rejects your ideas, is it because you seldom offer anything new or truly innovative? Do you keep offering the same old “we can fix it cheaper” suggestion and wonder why senior management doesn’t bother to pay attention to you anymore? Biomedical personnel are fortunate in that they have the opportunity to work with almost every department in the hospital. They are in a position to see problems and offer solutions. They are in an excellent position to see the interrelationship between diverse departments. In your travels do you see clinicians using devices that are outmoded and if upgraded might improve efficiency or patient outcomes? During meetings do you hear of problems that might be solved by improved technologies, or better use of existing technology? Are you aware of systems or procedures that might benefit from a more innovative approach?
No matter how good your ideas are, they won’t always stand on their own merits. They need to be sold. If you have a great idea, plan carefully on how you will present it. Whenever possible, enlist the help of others. Take the time to rehearse your presentation and be certain to show cost justification and efficiencies based on solid data. Once people realize that you offer well planned approaches to problem solving and innovation, they will begin listening to you.
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