FastCompany meet health care. FastCompany  is a magazine which focuses on innovation and creativity in the marketplace, and they publish a yearly issue about the most innovative companies in the world.
In reading about The World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies , there were several characteristics which stood out from the various organizations. These characteristics are salient for healthcare organizations across the spectrum, especially with the rapid change taking place from HITECH  specifically and health care reform in general. It is an understatement to say that Meaningful Use is driving meaningful change.
Being innovative in addressing these health care and healthcare IT changes is fundamental to success.
A perspective on the significant principles from the various “most innovative” companies follows. These principles for sustained, successful innovation are in no particular order and are just one perception from what was read in FastCompany.
Applied Continuous Learning: There are many elements which support this concept; however, in reading about the various companies, it is clear that the innovative organizations are continuously learning from the market, the trends, other people, etc. From this real-world education, what is learned is applied to new products, upgrades to existing products, or new business models.
The point is there are many avenues to learn from, so engage in several of them and apply what is discovered to your work space. Learning without application may lead to being smartly stuck in the same place. Similarly, applying your efforts with no real new learning may lead to staying in a well-worn cycle. Staying innovative requires continuous learning and then applying the learning actively to your workflows, IT initiatives, healthcare operations, etc.
Agile in Delivering Change: Being agile may be the new over-used word, but it does tie to applied continuous learning. Change is happening, so it cannot be ignored while continuing to be successful in your mission. Innovative organizations are looking at the next wave and are adapting successfully to the changes. Agile is more than a strategy; it is a way of building your office space and interacting with other team members. Walls are being removed so that it is easier to adapt, learn, and achieve new results.
The point is being flexible to meet change is essential. Choosing to stand still against change is clearly an option, but it will not produce innovation or new best practices in order to achieve higher quality or great efficiencies.
It’s the Team: Yes, most newer companies begin with an individual who has an idea or vision and demonstrates the passion to introduce it into the marketplace. However, to be successful the individual efforts are quickly transformed into team efforts. It is no longer “personal;” it is a movement, and a movement requires more than one. The environment is interactive. Barriers are removed. People are engaged. It is no longer one idea, but a culmination of ideas to realize the original, or an improved original, vision.
Successful innovative practices and products are, ultimately, the result of a team effort. The impact is far greater and the results much deeper in what a group of motivated individuals can achieve versus a solitary person.
Integrity is Demonstrated: Integrity is something to be experienced, so it is a little surprising to see it come out in the various articles about these innovative companies. Being centered on integrity in interactions and doing what is right and for the right reason is vital in keeping innovative practices, products, and services on the right track. As we all know, it takes many “rights” to demonstrate strong integrity and one wrong to lose it.
Innovative organizations are grounded in delivering what is right in all interactions with customers and team members. Integrity is present on all sides of the interaction in order to make it really work for the long haul.
There are many characteristics and principles required to be successful in whatever you do and in whatever your organization does. In reading about the 50 most innovative companies, it seemed like a good time to reflect on these essential elements and renew our efforts with these characteristics in mind.
Change is apparent everywhere in health care; it cannot be ignored. How it is addressed will determine the level of success. These changes are being absorbed and driven by us, so ensuring the principles of innovation  are evident is a responsibility we all need to accept and deliver upon.