Becker’s Hospital Review | How Hospital Leadership Can Embrace, Not Fear, Innovation

By Jim Finkelstein, President and CEO, FutureSense, LLC & Sheila Repeta, Senior Consultant, FutureSense, LLC | Innovation is a word that frequently instills fear into leadership. Innovation means new and new is synonymous with change and risk. Managing risk frequently tops the governance priority list, whereas discussions about innovation often go by the wayside.

As healthcare organizations look to become sustainable and continue to grow in this highly volatile and complex environment, leadership is confronted with new questions and challenges. To survive and thrive amongst these changes, healthcare governance needs to balance fiduciary responsibilities, while increasing innovation.

Leadership must not misconstrue innovation with randomized experimentation, which carries huge risk. There are, in fact, ways in which diligent governance can incorporate organizational advancement and improvements though board practices, organizational partnerships, and hospital executive leadership selection.

Board Practices
Historically, the composition of a strong hospital board included members with the primary skill sets of operational expertise and “numbers watching.” Diversity in board membership included someone with a finance background, a law background, and clinicians. Selection onto the board was based on experience and professional acumen. But as boards seek to increase innovation, it is essential to look past the standard “professional qualifications” and find transformation-minded members who have demonstrated success in thinking outside-the-box to find risk-balanced opportunities, make highly bold decisions, and be willing to disrupt and pivot legacy business practices.

The focus is not just about new member selection, but also continued development of an innovation mindset with current board members. As you assess your board’s innovation practices, ask if your board:

• Explores best or uniquely interesting practices from other organizations
• Participates in board education, development, and ideation opportunities that have a focus on innovation
• Takes time to learn about governance issues and challenges that have been overcome in other industries, and/or network with organizations in other industries, to integrate new opportunities and practices from outside healthcare.  More…