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Courtesy of Cambia Health Solution's Mohan Nair, below is a transcript of his speaking session on 'The Innovation Flywheel: How to generate enterprise momentum and avoid innovation theatre' to Build a Thriving Enterprise that took place at BTOES Healthcare Live - A Virtual Conference.
The Innovation Flywheel: How to generate enterprise momentum and avoid innovation theatre
With us, Mohan ... is the Senior Vice President and Chief Information Innovation Officer at cambia Health Solutions.
He guides the innovation force, an enterprise wide incubator, creating and launching five companies in five years. He reports to the CIO who is accountable for 25 businesses totaling $9 billion. His mission is to bring consumer focus, transparency, digital transformation, and new business models to the company entered the market. Mohan, please do join us. It's a real pleasure to have you with us at vetoes Healthcare Live. We very much look forward to your presentation's a real gift to have you with us today.
It's my pleasure.
Say it's good to hear your voice and good to, can you hear me now? All good? Yes, we can hear testimony, or your look, you're coming through great, as well on the on the presentation. That's fantastic. Well, what a pleasure it is to be with you! I know that we live in a world.
Where I'm calling you from Portland, Oregon, which is, was in flames. Just few days ago and had my back beds, bags back too.
Evacuate, now does smoke.
That is the most hazardous smoke in the world, and we also have, you know, the gift of ... that has taken lives in our country, totaling about almost 200,000 now and six point six million who have been tested positive. Or have co. it.
Now, why am I saying all that?
Well, the context of which we are communicating with you is, A small topic of innovation, but innovation in health care is particularly important at times like this.
one has to understand that corporations, who Cool bedrock of our society, in terms of hiring and growing our economy, need a strong understanding of this skill, and strong understanding of this ability to create, not just an innovation, action or innovation event, but a flywheel. And, hence, my presentation I have with me, a few members of our team Caitlin Arps, who is actually doing the slides for me and then who's, also my Director of Innovation, and also Alexis Roelof, who is also on in the joining the group. She is also a Director of Innovation, both, all three of us will engage with you, as appropriate.
Let me, let me just say that, what this irony of our innovation world is that many people speak, As you can see on the slide, several people speak in, test at situations, McKenzie for one has checked people's modus on innovation, and everyone's saying that they think their current business models are at risk.
Everyone is saying that everyone has an 84% saying that innovation is important and a growth strategy and, by the way, an overused term and everyone is saying that they they are extremely ... dependent on innovation.
But, as we look at the next slide, you will see that only 6% of executives are satisfied with what they're doing in innovation. So, their aspiration versus execution are extremely different.
82% of organizations run innovation, the same way they run the operating incremental performance gains that they expect from their very established legacy, shall I say, as well as business as usual environments.
Now, one can ask the question, is there such a thing as business as usual anymore, and it's clear that there isn't any more business as usual. Because, look at me, I'm calling you from my home, and you're listening from your home, or from your office you temporarily visited.
Now, 72% admit that they are missing opportunities. In other words, they're missing the window of opportunity. And hitting the walls of innovation. Why is this distance?
Not closed? What is it that can make us really feel comfortable in the innovation agenda? Now, the next slide will cover some aspects of it. But I hope that you don't take it the wrong way. But we are living in a world of theater.
Netflix is not the only place where we see drama enacting. We see it and innovation in companies as well. Now, we believe sometimes, that we can just adopt the habits of innovation and therefore become innovators. We think that if we adopt the processes, we will then become, that, which we dream, we've become. So, we have painted rooms with white boards that you can write, Sometimes you can even write on Glass. We have brainstorming sessions with post it notes. I know my budget for post it notes as quadrupled. Since we started innovating, we adopt different kinds of dress codes because we think we can be entrepreneurial, we hire we. We do petting zoos, excuse the term, but it is one way we bring entrepreneurs and companies that are entrepreneur into a larger institutions.
We kinda view them in cages and hope that they will infect us with innovation, modus and mores in the hopes that we can transform ourselves. We hire ziegler's, you know, people from Google or anywhere else. So Facebook, the fang companies in hopes that they will infuse innovation.
We also try to invest, We try to play, since some of us have dollars to spend.
We invest in startups and accessing innovation that way, because we, again, hope that all of these elements, working in concert of some of these elements will transform the way in which we view innovation as a larger institution. We start talking like a startup. We spend time defining stage gates.
We draw some lines, and we make innovation a process when it's actually a discipline, and and we expect returns an immediate way, because we think that's how actions should be taken. All this means an expensive attempt at trying to find the recipe. The question is, what is that recipe for you?
I don't judge any of these techniques. I think they're all valuable, but isolated by themselves, they're not, they don't serve anything, but creating distance between you and the objective you wanna serve. Let's move to the next slide where we're past the theater into some reality.
Co-operative approaches are clear, they create energy and research and development, they create incubators.
They create accelerators, and the difference being the two we can describe in a few minutes. They create a venture arm that invest in startups, or invest in emerging businesses, and they sometimes do acquisitions. And then, of course, M&A is the factor.
These are all approaches all valid, all having some element of truth. But, the question is, what is the meal you want to cook as you start to build innovation within your own self, and let alone, within the company that you serve? The next slide will cover some other factors. There are also some major paradoxes in the innovation culture. one is, what's your orientation towards discovery? Do you like to discover from within the company, or do you like to discover from outside the company?
There are many companies that, and enterprises, that actually discount their own people, not in a negative way, but they think that the smart ones are outside.
And so they tend to look outside for their orientation of innovation.
That's a paradox, because the energy has to be balance between inside and outside. The comfort with new ideas.
If someone comes to you and says, I got an idea, do you drop your pants and listen to them, and engage them in a systematic way on how to take that idea forward, if it's valid. Or clarify. Or do you destroy it with 10 questions that are guaranteed to kill any good idea in the process. We know that ideas fall on the sides of businesses, on a regular basis.
We know that those ideas are bottom-up it many times.
But idea out, it's very important.
And what we do is, we do top-down and we do bottom-up, and we forget the idea up how ideas rise and how the ideas are bloodstream of our own company. And how do we measure and create comfort in that ideas? I've written two articles in, in Forbes on that matter if you want to check it out. It would be helpful to share from that point of view.
What's your appetite for leaps or is it incremental that is really important? Does your innovation agenda want incremental growth within your institution to prove value and then to make leaps?
The second bag or is disruptively. Not really in the picture even though people say they are that kind of paradox exists when it comes to funding and thoughts? What's your mode of experimentation?
Do you like to experiment by creating markets? Or do you like to experiment by creating how you feed a market?
Do you experiment with that consistent optimization method or do you use chaos as an approach? Do you say, you want redundancy with a whole bunch of things, you want to try and then integrate later, or do you want to make it right the first time?
Those models of experimentation is a mindset, and a methodology, and the culture of innovation that has to be understood before you start to take on an objective of this nature. And then, of course, the market focus. There are people who feed markets, and there are people who make markets and then feed them. Steve Jobs created markets, others feed them.
So, what is your center of gravity in your company?
Do you, are you a feeder, or you, or are you a market maker? Both are great, both have value.
And both habits have to be part of your vernacular, but the question is, where's your center of gravity.
Initially, I hope these paradoxes don't confuse you.
But allow you to think through exactly how you want your center of gravity and your signature for innovation in your company to engage. Now, let's talk about some examples. If I may, let's look at these two pictures there, visualizations of where, ideas, form and how they spread.
one, on the left is a company and one on the right is company, noticed that on the left, the company starts with a few center of gravity, and then locks itself into patents and generates out.
On the right. It's company, the company has sort of a scatter gram of ideas and they're all running independently and exist, and maybe their sudden hotspots. one is apple and the other is Google. Both are fantastic.
Fast growing, highly assertive companies that are transforming our world.
Both have different ways in which they take ideas and express them.
The signature is different, but the goals seem to be the same.
So, one has to understand exactly where your scatter grandness and what you believe your philosophy is. When you start to energize your company with an agenda. beyond, these examples allow me to speak about my example. I am the Chief Innovation Officer and Senior Vice President of Cambia Health Solutions. We are about a $10 billion company. We have access to 70 million Americans to the Blue Cross Blue Shield Network, which we own and operate the five Blue Cross Blue Shield plans within the space of the north-west of the country. We also had 20 other companies, of, which five my team has launched, started and created. The next picture will show you are not for-profit model and how a not for-profit model has it has a for-profit energy to it.
There's always a view that a company that's a taxpayer, not for-profit, can be slow and not activate. And this shows the, the, the, the trajectory of companies that we launched, and built. Actually, we built and launched, but you get it. And the ignite or that helped us create ideas within our organization.
A number of ideas that we collect and conform and it's a battle to give people currency and to have them believe in the currency of ideas. And that that becomes a different bloodstream that then creates some of these companies. So, in fact, three of these companies were created by employees who are, who became CEOs and general managers. So, it kinda tells you that it's also a training ground for great leaders over the period of 10 years, that I've been the Chief Innovation Officer for the company for 10 years now.
Fact, 10 year anniversary is right up. Right up here, now, Tobar will be my anniversary. Now, I'm either really bad at what I do, and therefore, they don't know what to do with me. Or I think, I know what I'm doing now. After 10 years of practicing the art, at least I know how I'm doing it, but not how it can be done. But in that 10 years, I've had some lessons.
I've had some understandings and I hope we can share those at appropriate times In the course of this presentation, which I hope is quick and timely and forces questions for you to grow as well as for me to learn. So with that, let's move to the next slide.
Now, what's the flywheel I keep talking about. Well, people say that you have to find a great idea, created and then show the world.
Well, this flywheel doesn't say that what it says is you have to find great people, and you have to find people with ideas. You have to show them the way of how they can be their best selves, and then create from within the potential for innovation.
Now, these flywheels usually are always about a process and I'm all about people.
I want you to understand that ideas without people are just ideas.
They live and die, the same half-life that everything else is, but people with ideas can transform the world we live in. And so the next slide will help sort of clarify some of that dialog.
You need to have an idea generating engine that allows people to feel their currency and ideas, that they feel that that it's their right And responsibility as employees to drop ideas. And then to take them not just to give them in an elevator to somebody else who's smarter and then walk away, until nourished by that action. That's how it early happened for me, when I was chief innovation officer. People thought, oh, he's going to be the Steve Jobs of the company, and he's going to take ideas.
And he's just gonna wear tight jeans and, know, we're a black t-shirt and everything will be fine. And what I tried very hard to do, was to energize the institution so that it can go beyond me. And beyond everyone else, who is working for me to working with me, shall I say, to drive a cause greater than ourselves?
That causes the transformation of healthcare, the creation of it, the transformation of it to be catalyzed into a person focused health care system that is sustainable economically, both at the personal level, as well as the institutional level. And we have not reached it, and we all that, and those of you who are all over the world probably recognize that.
We are merely problems within the diaspora of problems in healthcare, across the world.
The idea engine has to work, wake up, and make happen. The realization engine is where you can take an idea and make it real. So the word realization is, is double entendre is to take an idea and make it realizable in the eyes of others because sometimes people will tell you all the ways it can.
The distribution at scale engine is one thing I keep learning about because it's great to create a company. Create, create five companies, but having it get to the customers. And we have about two million, but having them enjoy it, and the innovation throughput that a business needs to be able to take an idea, build an idea, define it, test it, and then deliver it. That throughput is still an issue within my company, with another companies, it's getting it out there quickly, and being able to create scale, so they can impact lives as quickly as possible.
Then, finally, it's something that I think many don't think about, which is the renewal agent.
What does it mean to take ideas and keep them fresh and renew them over and over again?
I have ideas that have been 10 years old that are still in our archives and we use them like old condiments when you make a meal and say, Does this work?
You know, this is all still there, but surprisingly, when you refurbish these ideas and take them into a new format with the idea has met its time to be an idea that is implementable is something that one has to understand when you create the engines of innovation within your company. Archiving on the, on your, on your right distributing And scaling realizing, which is the machinery to make something happen. And then the idea engine, that, sources it, now, guess what, There are people who believe that innovation is the assembly of great inventions by other people. That's not a bad story.
So you better be good at it. Be able to take innovations and make it fundamentally strong. There are others who believe that you want to make everything.
There are others who believe that's in-between, somehow knowing how to assemble, knowing what the market offers and knowing how to create your recipe. I'm of the belief that things that are core in the business, things that are going to be core in your business, have to be owned and operated and built.
Things that are non core that you believe will be non coyne, 10 years, You can borrow and you can build outside.
The core ability to drive your philosophical view of how innovation should be expressed through humans in the human business is essentially the power of what the flywheel isbell.
And from that perspective, many launch into innovation exercises with their own footprint and a step in the wrong thing in the process of doing it. So, I suggest that we think about these four elements. We think about the system view of it.
We consider the human element to it because innovation is of value in my company.
It produces value propositions but it is still the basic right and privilege of all, not the ones who think they're smarter than others. Let me move to the next slide that I hope keeps time with us. I'm moving fast and I hope that's OK with you. It is only to spur ideas so that we have more time to dialog and engage. So, what does the future for Chief Innovation Officer, that's what ... means. And I don't mean chief as a title. I mean it as a role. What does that role defined down?
And I think it's the this next 10 years will be the 10 years of of the rol becoming a legitimate.
Even though off balance sheet role, just like Chief Experience Officer, Chief digital officers, these chief roles, sometimes off balance sheet. But guess what?
They have impact to the balance sheet. And the income statement. And those impacts are pretty significant. Because in every team, you have A, Team A and Team B in every corporation, you have A, Team A and Team B. And having a teammate do the operational work really. Well, you have to have a team B that has an equivalent structure to take leaps and new ideas and take them forward.
Because sometimes TMA will forget to be able to define the markets they want to serve in the future.
Because they have to serve the 600 markets in the most efficient, operationally tight way.
And you can't argue, when you're running an operation, and I did, I ran the front end of Blue Cross Blue Shield for, for the north-west, for two years.
And believe me, every time a consultant told me to take out of the box, I wanted to fire him or her. So, sometimes you don't have time to do that. You have to activate on the present.
Other times, you need someone or something, or some group, that is, that is spreading the idea of, of thinking ahead. And planning and building ahead. Now, what does business re-imagine means? Well, yeah, I think people figured that out with ....
I wrote a book in 2010 on business transformation and it predicted that we will have unknown unknowns, attack us, and that we have to build a system within our corporate environment that can anticipate unknown unknowns. Now, logically, how can you anticipate unknown unknowns? Because once you know them, they become announced. I know that some of you who are Socratic, and the way you think, will argue that is not the case. But to be able to anticipate the competencies, the skills, the mindset, the values of your customers as they evolve. So that you can reach them is the role of the Chief Innovation Officer and the role of people in innovation. So, I used to build new markets, and I used to focus on that, now, I build new competencies.
Because I believe the company has to develop competencies that allow it to match new markets because new markets without competencies is is a failure.
Of course, human centered design is everybody's binocular. It is a factor, I think there's too much going on.
I think too many yellow stickies and too many pens have destroyed our ability to understand that human centered design was brought to market many, many years ago, and I love ideal. And I love the team that has brought it to market at Stanford, as brought it to market. But realize that human centered design is an art form that has been put into a process. But it is a philosophy that has lasted, centuries, and we should bring those philosophical viewpoints to the art form and then take it to market and effective way. And, of course, the culture of an institution defines whether anything can grow, and if you don't work on the internal culture of the institution and affect that culture, then you cannot grow new ideas. So people who go out and buy companies, absorb them in, The companies fail, and the people leave, why?
Because the soil within the company that they are acquired for into does not grow the ability for diversity, for equity and for inclusiveness. And so, let's really think about the way in which we transform our institutions at a much more aggressive, assertive way than what has been lived before.
And, of course, digital transformation is the accelerator for being able to activate, but human transformation.
Arriving at digital transformation, is even more important, because we cannot digitize our humanity towards the subjects we are trying to create solutions for. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it. I hope this helps you. I hope it serves you in some way. You can connect with me of course in the usual manner and there are ridings that I have published that will be of help to you. And, this helps me because, it helps me learn from the questions you ask and helps me understand. The choices one makes in growing one's thoughts in the area of innovation. So I hope this serves you. Just say, I hope the questions are coming. If they're not, then I failed you all but I appreciate and value your time.
And I'm going to ask Caitlin and Alexis if they want to participate in any of this since I've done it earlier than 35 minutes, I'm gonna ask Alexis who is my director of innovation and it has been the company for 20 years and experienced multiple jobs. Alexis, would you are you on the line and able to be unmuted to give a perspective?
You know, she didn't expect to be called, so, it's just me being naughty.
Yeah, I don't know if she has the ability to speak directly with, as I think now. I know, she may. She just needs to unmute. She just needs to mute herself your self muted right now, so, if you unmute yourself, you should be able to speak.
Thank you. I appreciate the opportunity to join in, and my perspective, for whether it's worth and appreciate the lessons learned, certainly in the color. You get them out hunting the last 10 years. I really appreciate. And then talking to other organizations as well, the power.
Because I think there is such increasingly now with the economy, at least in the US, Such pressure, to perform financially that there is a bias towards the operational.
But even in that context, the power, when you walk into the room and can share an employee story behind the idea of what motivated it and what they're trying it, drive change within the industry.
Usually in service of others or even in service of teams within inside the organization can be a really powerful effect. So the importance of having those dual operating engines, even as as times evolve, I think, can't be understated.
Yeah, Alexis was my first team mate that I asked to join this Innovation team aft.
I was the chief marketing officer and executive for Blue Cross Blue Shield, and then when I walked in her office and I said, I'm gonna build this thing, this group of 10 to 12 people and we're going to define innovation for businesses and I'm going to leave my role. Would you join me, She just stood up and took the job. So that kinda tells you that nature that people we have in our team.
Now, Alexis has been with me for 10 years now but 17 years working in the institutions surrounding it. But Caitlin, on the other hand, if I can give you a few seconds, Caitlin Joint just last month or what month was six months ago? Caitlin joined. But she joined virtually.
She could not enjoy the energy of the physicality of relationships at the at the innovation team and innovation.
First, caitlyn, anything to add to what you've observed know I think it's been great I like to go all in and join a new job, right limits of a pandemic but hopefully that helps the post it note bottom line. But, yeah, I think it's been great. I feel like this is a time, and normally, people feel extremely isolated from co-workers. Family friends, instead of still attend a job virtually, and feel energized and feel like every day is productive. You're not just, you know, checking things off of your e-mail, you're checking a list for your actually fixing a problem. You're fixing a consumer problem. and then factor maybe helping an ignite or as Mohan talked about the people within the business. I have an idea helping them realize and have that come to fruition. It's been a great honor to join the team. Learn from the Great Brains, every single day. So, yeah, I'm very interesting, New employees startup. But it's been a blessing in disguise, absolutely.
Caitlin just got posted into one of our, our sixth delivery that will come out this year. that is a unique proposition and competency that no one's seen yet, and she's just thrown right into it and doing a great job.
Now, why did I include two of my teammates? The reason is the philosophy within innovation force, our innovation team, is that we never go into anywhere without our teammates. We're always to doing something. So there's no one in our group.
And I know that sounds very politically correct, but this has been going on for 10 years, where we go into the, the, the challenge of innovation, but having someone always be your six when you're looking at 12. And when they, when we meet, we debrief after every meeting, we'll debrief after this meeting.
Because we learn from each other. And so it's a mini MBA and a mini training course for everyone and our team to continually be better. And so that you can bring out the better in others.
And that purpose of finding great ideas and great people, and then enabling that, does not take away from the fact that we, as a team can activate, can build, can make great ideas.
But the issue that's different is our ego is turned to passion, passion and a cause greater than ourselves. And once we do that, we become our better selves. So that's what innovation to us means. With that, just say, I think, I've met your requirements of 30 minutes.
This is fine, It's just terrific. Thank you for sharing this deep experience and knowledge that you have On the, on the theory and the practice of innovation. Acceleration, we have had a number of questions that come up. I encourage the audience, our global audience, to continue to ask the questions. I'll monitor them, and they'll relay as many as possible. In the times that We have that. We have a lot of here, which is Which is great. We have plenty of time to talk about it. So, I'm going to try to define some logical flow to a few of the questions And get the main themes here. So, let's start with some Fundamentals Mohan. What how do you even define innovation to start with? You know, one of the things that that I like to say is that you'll have extraordinary innovation. You need to define it in the ordinary terms. And do you have an ordinary definition for innovation? That makes it useful for people in the organization to act on that.
Yes, and I don't want to take a long time on it, but I've been working on on the next book. And then those questions come to mind because taking complex things like innovation and make it not so distant from the persons who want to experience it.
I've had the pleasure of watching over 100, so I'd say, 2 or 300 people come up with an idea, feel insecure about it, and get encouraged to build, And five of them became CEOs right? So in watching that human experience, I find it very sacred. Very beautiful invention is the creation of something that has yet to be created now.
That's almost blasphemous because, frankly, who created anything, but the fact is invention is that way innovation is taking inventions that have reached that time and producing something out of them in 18 months.
The ability to assemble inventions and then creating the glue logic, that is necessary to produce something of value to others.
That actually goes beyond the patent, is what innovation means to me.
Now, the word innovation in the 18 hundreds 18th century, was called Novation.
And when they call it Innovation, it was really to symbolize people who fought the church and who were blasphemous. So they were considered innovators when they broke rules, and they were treated very badly. They were actually labels.
Now that word has migrated through the centuries to meet us today as people who are now respected and being innovators.
I've been studying exactly how that happened, right?
How did we become sort of the vogue?
When in the old days, we would be killed.
Well, I think it's because we have now a culture that accepts inventions.
and, in that invention, we've seen the value to humanity.
And now we're taking innovations and seeing the value to humanity. But if I were to defining innovation, again, josey, I would say that innovation is now in the next 10 to 15 to 20 years, are going to be those that have human impact.
That truly have human value, that causes greater than ourselves, and those that are selfish will find themselves in a very challenging place. They may be respected, they'll make money. But there'll be in a difficult place. So, I hope that helps define what I think innovation ought to be looking like nowadays.
It did, you talked about a concept early on that, that was very powerful about, you touch on the concept of Eagle. And the and then, of course, there's this great thing, you know, you and I deal with a lot of senior leaders and we hear about senior leaders talking about Eagle S approaches to things, and you're sitting there and thinking, really, you know, having an Eagle. Exactly. What about admitting that you'll have an ego, but you are using this cause to fund, though, your ego, to productive who's, right? And I love the way you capture that. And building on concepts like that. How do you prepare people in an organization for innovation when it comes to values, mindset, skill sets? What are you looking to develop in people to help you in that innovation journey?
That's a great question and tough one hour as kind of how do you have an hour?
You know, but the fact is, principles, drive an institution either subtle or real, and establishing the principles that can be, I was done, and 17 years ago, when I engaged with the, then CEO, who was a powerful, principle driven individual, and helped me frame the cause that we wanted to establish.
And helped me introduce what has already been in the company, that was underlying principles and values that are, that sometimes get, not get enough air.
So, that is where I tap into values based innovation versus objective based innovation. Many companies drive innovation as objective. I focus on the values. And the values are, what is the value you want, and what are the principles you want?
Number one is, that one idea changes all ideas. So you respect the fact that it could be the next one. And so you listen.
right, and from that creates inclusivity a view of equity, and a view of diversity all in one, because when you listen, hopefully you here, the other is that it's not about you.
Corporations are very egotistical, because they reflect the ego of each individual. And so when egos come together, they form this wonderful mesh of junk that inhibits the traction within institutions, because he goes, are battling and egos create. And sometimes, a leader has it, and everybody's following that. And it gets to this really wonderful place where nobody gets healthy.
They love it because they make a good stock price, and everybody doesn't care because the shareholders are making money, but in the end, the part of you goes away every year.
That's not the way I think we should function principles. Although, you can choose to make a lot of money really fast, and then, say, you want to save the world afterwards, There are people who do that, too. I'd like to make money saved the world at the same time, and also saved myself. I believe that, that is the way in which compromises occurring.
And so, creating a principle driven organization that is value based and living those values and showing the way for others to enable their own sense of belief is a gift. You give your society if you are a good innovator.
If you are a OK innovator, you can just make money in.
You know, develop the next big thing and save the world in your own way. I don't judge it.
I just choose the former than the latter that healthcare. Yes, absolutely. Absolutely, This is very far reaching concepts. So we've talked about principles here, and principles are very important. Mindsets are important, principles are important. I'm, I'm gonna, I'm looking at some of the questions and commentary, And I want to build on this a little bit more. You. know, if I, if I look back at my own personal experiences. I was very blessed early In my career. To have access to Peter Drucker and learn a lot of follow how he thinks about the world. And then later on, Collins built on, a lot of those Drucker concepts. And then Jim's talks about great organizations are having three things, right.
He talks about a strong set of core values, this relentless Drive for progress and going back to principles mechanisms that translate the principles into action Tell me, talk about kind of, the first to tell me a little bit about how do we make this a bit more tactical and translate this. What are the mechanisms that organizations must have to translate the principles of innovation into action that creates financial and social value?
Right? So the titration of taking, I'm trying to understand a very important question is, once you establish your well, that's a joke to say, once you establish but if you begin your journey towards being a principled or institution that has a cause greater than itself, allow me to use my own language. I believe in causes because causes are taken.
Missions are given.
So when you institutionalize your business, you tend to give a mission and people follow it blindly. Well, guess what?
Those days are good but they are subordinated by causes greater than ourselves and we see it all around us right now.
And we're all asking, Josie, you're asking where you are, I'm asking what's the meaning to life thing, you know, how do I know I'm contributing, meaning, well, that's been a journey, that our society has been going through for years and centuries.
It is coming into frame that you can make things better for society, that titration of taking those constructs, driving it into objectives, and strategic thrus, and then turning those into outcomes is been in our world for years right beyond Drucker. Drucker early writings were about objectives and key results, NGOs, right? Management by objectives, we added balanced scorecard, we added activity based costing.
We added all the other operational tools that you've used in, in accordance with a mission They serve the company, but used in accordance with a cause. But actually engage the individuals within an institution to want to leap into it, rather than to be dragged into the measures. That we live in. Now, I wrote a book on Balanced Scorecard, I wrote a book on activity based costing. I wasn't taught at Kellogg on the field of measurement. So it's funny that I'm speaking about how the purpose operationalized would do more than the measure operationalized. And yes, I do believe that I do believe that.
You can take the current operational effective tools you have titrate it above to a cause greater than yourself and activate an animate an institution and, frankly, can be as an example of it. Can be a is activated by a cause. If you look at the website, you'll see a cause greater than ourselves.
And every single member of the company, 5000 strong, if you ask them why they're there, they'll say It's because of the cost.
But they're also working on a day to day with measures.
So, they don't have to be disjoint Is what I am proposing to all of you.
That's fantastic. That's fantastic. More hands, when building on that? On these mechanisms related to the cause now, what is the process that you fall in the organization for identifying per ... and executing the innovations that you identified that are related to the cause.
Right? Everyone will find, when you find a Christmas tree, there'll be all, everyone will hang their ideas on that tree. Right? So if you say that causes that, everybody would say, that's my, I have a product that fits that cause. So they'll all run to it in the goodness of their own heart. They're all trying to get on that Christmas tree. So there's a filtering.
But, before you filter an idea, what we do is we have mechanisms that capture ideas. You know, the technologies there, We have motivated programs that allow for, you know, Shark Tank kinds of environments.
We have all of the things that you can think of in multiple companies that generate ideas, but most of all you have to have an organization that listens.
And that does it, ubiquitously. So if you think of the bone structure of a body, you have to think of the nervous system.
And the nervous system is what innovation is about. That's a team B flow.
And if you can't get that going, you're always struggling with going, your nervous system, talking to the bone structure, saying, can I, can I do what I'm doing? And the bone structure says, nope. It's got nothing to do with movement. Because now they can do it as musculoskeletal. I'm not interested. Right? So that's what the battle between innovation and the current operating environment is, how do you create that balance? How do you create that connectivity? You take ideas and you make them real as quickly as you can. And my team does, and we accelerate ideas. We write business plans. We, we go build companies. And once you show people that, you can do this pretty rapidly then every individual in the company, 20%.
Let's say, stop to think that they can become a CEO.
Not from eagle but from the change that they can derive once you've got 20%.
And by the way, we have you start to see a flywheel.
So that's my solution that I've been working on for 17 years of which 10 years has been in this role. So it's not easy.
It's not like you come in and do two years and write a book.
It's, it's hard on the ground suffering. That is, and the labor, towards the love of your customer.
And if you can, if you can take that journey, then you're an innovator in my mind, if not, your people who send notices to everybody, saying they're really smart.
I mean, that that does not impress me, doesn't impress the world. And most of all, who cares what impressed me or not, you should be? You should be your own witness that you can actually be the innovator you destined to become right.
So, I think there's power in this and I think that smart people who are on this phone on this video, are people who have the potential to take it to another level and are waiting for the right spark, And I hope to think that the idea could be the spark that wakes them up today. That's great, that's great.
I don't have big dreams for this meeting, being the transformative meeting, but every moment is a moment for choice.
And if you choose it, then you can be the greatest you can overby right?
From an innovative point of view.
Absolutely. Well said, Mohan. one other thing that has emerged here has to do with sustainability of innovation programs. There's, you know, those of us who work across multiple organizations cross industry while we have seen the last decade is that it's an incredible creative destruction is App Engine innovation programs themselves because they started banging people. You know, the, the, the stereotypical kind of make fun of the motto is that the senior leaders comes from the ivory tower. They participate in very colorful post, and those type of sessions for a period of time, but 18 months, after the original, kickoff 18 months. Just three years, after the regional kickoff half of all innovation programs are dead, and 99% of them will die within five years. So the question becomes, what is the secret for longevity and success that you have found? Because you're on your 10 year journey here.
I am honored to be in that position to be able to at least give a perspective on this, but I must tell you that, a great, guiding CEO who gives you range, me reporting to that CEO, for 10 years, allows me the perspective of transforming the peer group, as well as the employees.
And gives me, not a long distance. But close enough distance number one, I went for operational effectiveness. First. I looked at what problems and solve them as quickly as I could, My CEO once said, I don't go for the leaps. You know, try to help and create value for your peers. And once I did that, they at least accepted me for what I was doing. Note that, I used to be the guy that ran the business. So, they know me and so there was a familiarity. But, as we change, the 80% of the leadership, they started having a referendums against my team. They were saying, Well, why? do we need it? You know, let's take them is budget because we needed for what we have to get done today.
And so the battle between today and tomorrow will always be there, and you have to earn it every day, and you have to serve it every day. So, one, collect and drive ideas within the institution to accelerate problems to solutions that are currently in front of people, not just the feature. three, is go create something. Go make something.
And if you make something and you make the bet and it becomes a big idea that people recognize and you do it within a three year window, you get the flywheel going.
And once you get the flywheel going, then, your reputation comes before you, rather than you having to earn it every time behind you.
That help, That doesn't only help, That is the, you have just unlock the keys to the doors to, to Sustainable Innovation Acceleration in any organization. It's a real privilege and an honor to have you, sharing, sharing your insights, and knowledge and expertise with us. I personally could listen to you all day long, and just engagement is because this is such an important topic for our time. And they're, Like you said, when we have purpose driven organizations, who are using innovation as a mechanism to to drive that purpose, and align the purpose of individuals of the purpose of the organization, as we create social benefits, that's a powerful combination. You have a wonderful track record, an example, an examples on how to make that happen.
Thank you so much for taking the time Fletcher. Joseph, thank you so much for your coaching, as well. Thank you very much. And Brian, who helped solicit me into this conversation, thank you. Thank you, all. And I hope all of you have a good journey and innovation filled with cause greater than yourselves.
Thank you very much, Mohan.
Ladies and gentlemen, fantastic presentation from Mohan, they're here. Wonderful insights. We can continue our conversation on LinkedIn. Go on there. My name's Jos appears on the LinkedIn posts. Add your comments in there, Add your questions in there. We, I tried to summarize some of the key concepts that I see on the questions panel here, coming from you. There are lots of questions, I try to get to as many of them as possible.
So, this wraps up this segment and sets us up for the final segment of the day, which I'm very excited about welcoming my Maggie Savile from Healthcare Improvement Leader at Baylor Scott. And White and Mag is going to share with us data driven decisions and how to create demand for actionable insights and develop trusted relationships in your organization on this transformation journey that so many of us are going through, in healthcare. So, see you at the top of the hour, and I look forward to finishing with a great presentation from .... Thank you.
Senior VP Chief Innovation Officer,
Cambia Health Solutions.
Mohan, SVP and Chief Innovation Officer at Cambia Health Solutions, guides the Innovation Force (IF) an enterprise wide incubator/accelerator creating and launching 5 companies in 5 years. He reports to the CEO who is accountable for 25 businesses totaling $9 billion.
Mohan joined Regence Group (now a subsidiary of Cambia) as Executive VP and Chief Marketing Executive with the mission to bring consumer-focus, transparency, digital transformation and new business models to the company. Mohan was then assigned the leadership of three health plans for three years. Before joining Cambia, Mohan founded both a venture and a consulting firm; led as President of two software companies, ABC Technologies (sold to SAS) and ProTools Inc. (sold as McAfee).
He is also shaped by senior roles at Intel and Mentor Graphics Corporation at the defining years of the tech industry. He has been an adjunct professor of business at Kellogg School of Management and authored three books – Essentials of Balanced Scorecard, Activity-Based Information Systems, and Strategic Business Transformation. (Wiley & Sons) Mohan has served the Government's Committee on Performance and Accountability for the State of Oregon.
He was also called to serve on the Chronic Care Workgroup under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. His community activities include board roles in United Way and National University of Natural Medicine. He serves as advisor to the Presidents of George Fox University and Great Lakes Institute of Management in India. Lost at America’s Got Talent.
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