Why Companies Are Slow to Innovate

Innovation is very complex it’s not easy and the bigger the company the more difficult it is to innovate. If you look at the literature majority of innovations happen in small companies and large companies eventually acquire some of those innovations but they don’t start right inside of the large entities.

Julia Novik, Innovation Coach and Founder of Canada Health Net explains how to dive into innovation: “And this is where I want to bring up the whole Lean methodology. I know that Agile is built on Lean and I am not going to be touching much of Agile today because I was focusing more on application of Lean.”

“The most exciting part of this is that I’ve organized innovation panel and the three speakers that I’m bringing here are really people that I’ve worked with in my past life through MaRS Discovery District,” she continues. “They are all in the innovation space, some are from a large company, some are from a small startup company and then there is somebody who is in the Innovation Health Ministry of Health innovation office. So you are going to get lots of different perspectives and I hope you can take away a lot from it.”

“I want to go back to what it means “innovation” and what does it mean really to think as an innovator and think outside the box,” says Julia Novik. “It’s not natural to everyone to think that way because every day in our daily lives, as a corporation you have, your responsibilities, you have execution and deadlines and so it’s very difficult for people to just take their mind outside of daily things they have to do and start thinking how to innovate. So it takes some resources and thinking around that.”

“The first topic is what is innovation. Let’s hear from each of the tables what you think, what is innovation, what it means to you or to your group.”

One participant noted, that for her and for her colleagues just being technical, advancing, improving and applying innovation means a lot. Because her role was to execute, perform and definitely to be open to innovations.

Another participant said that they had looked at innovation as a new way of achieving a particular goal so they had a goal in mind and they were innovating different ways to achieve it. “We also looked at it as ways of making things easier. We also said that innovation may not always be a technical solution. I think in our day and age we are looking for a new app or looking for a new piece of technology but maybe it’s just reaching out to different groups of people in different ways.”

Julia Novik thanked everyone and said that after finishing this session she would summarize all the notes because everything they had said here had been all the different aspects of what innovation was.

“Speaking from what you guys are saying from my own experience, really innovation is about actually taking an idea and turning it into some kind of solution that creates the innovation,” she says. “Because it’s easy to say, a lot of us have tons and tons of ideas, but until we figure out how you can turn that idea into something that: a) there is a need for and it solves a real problem that we properly define; b) it is feasible, it is something that can be made, something that we can build and test in a marketplace, something that is affordable or something that people will be able to pay for. Those are some of the ideas around what is innovation.”

Sharing personal experience, Julia Novik said that at the end of the day it had to fulfill some kind of customer value. So if someone thought about Netflix, what had they really done? “I mean it was still renting movies, but people were getting busier and busier. They do have this need for convenience, for simplicity, for not having to actually walk and spend 45 minutes choosing a movie in a Blockbuster, right? So that’s kind of what innovation is.”

“You identify what’s happening with the trends, what the people are looking for and you meet that value of your consumer staying relevant. Again staying relevant to me, Blockbuster is actually the best example of staying relevant because they kind of just were stuck in the way the business is running, they were always very successful and they did not want to take into account what was happening around them until it was already too late and people were already switching to Netflix,” she points out.

“A lot of us have tons and tons of ideas, but until we figure out how you can turn that idea into something.”

“So it doesn’t have to be something huge or a new innovative drug. It’s got different aspects of it and again somebody said here innovation is not only about making some of the changes and improvements but it’s also about how you think and it’s something that requires you to think in a different way. You need those aspects to happen to find that happy medium for innovation to be successful. So it has to be something that the people need, the customer really has a need for it and it solves a problem or the trend that’s happening. It has to be viable business because sometimes innovation can cause a lot of money, a lot of resources at the end of the day,” says Julia Novik in conclusion.

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On September 20, 2018 Canada Health Net participated at the XI Wiki Meeting between Canada and Brazil. One of the main topics of this conference was to discuss the benefits of investments in Digital Health.

The benefits of investments in Digital Health – Mr. Bobby Gheorghiu, Manager, Trending and Performance, Performance Analytics, Canada Health InfowayOverview in Early Clinical Development in Innovative Medicines Dr. Bertrand J. Jean-Claude,  Director at the Research Institute of the MUHC – McGill University Health Centre.

You can watch the speech below:

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