Texting Innovation For Rural Medicine

What do you do when patients are so isolated and travel is so difficult and money is so tight that symptoms go untreated because information travels so slowly? Oh, and there’s not a dime to spare. This is the challenge faced by many rural health centers utilizing a system of community health workers who travel from clinics to reach patients in very isolated regions. They usually travel by foot or bike. They often cover such large areas that they may not return to the base clinic more than once a month. In wealthier regions solutions would probably involve large scale databases, interactive web pages, medical equipment hooked up to doctors in centralized locations and maybe even a car or two. Sometimes a lack of resources and a will to succeed is more than ample to create a real world changing difference. Frontline SMS:Medic was one of the business plans presented … Continue reading

Ways To Kill Business Innovation Through Analysis

Want to kill a good innovative idea? Analyze it in some obviously logical yet inappropriate way. It would be murder but you are unlikely to get caught.  When thinking about this I always remember an old accounting example where we try to help the owner of a diner decide if it would be a good idea to add a rack of snacks to his cash wrap.  By working with $/foot and other wonderfully useful tools we prove that it would be an unprofitable innovation. Of course that ignores the fact that the snacks were add-on sales – wrong analysis, lost opportunity. Umar Hamique presents a great list of ways to inappropriately analyze innovative ideas. Traps you can easily fall into because the methods are logical, but the results are disastrous due to strategic and other circumstances that require a more open. Great quote of the piece: “The fundamental error is simple, managing is more than counting…” … Continue reading

Cardboard Creativity…
Making Do While Making Great

It can be easy to forget that creativity is a brain exercise more than a money exercise.  Sure, money helps – but it can also get in the way. Subject in point – The Cardboard Theatre’s first production at Indiana University – Bloomington. Life is all about solving problems.   Problem? Students at IU want to put on a show but have very limited funds. Solution? Sets made from cardboard (unless you needed to sit on it – then it was ‘borrowed.’)   Result? A delightful evening featuring all original work by IU students for the IU community.  (Full disclosure: Like myself, there were also a few proud parents in attendance.) True creative talent often makes use of materials that others have discarded or set aside. Seldom do we have every tool we need or the perfect material we want. The creative enterprise is all about taking what is available … Continue reading

The Slash and Burn Prune.

Is this an example of good pruning or bad? Of course the choices weren’t good. Either a severe prune or get yanked out by the roots. So this probably will turn out better for the bush.  Summer will tell. We are told budgetary cutbacks demand careful pruning. That cuts must be made strategically to ensure that the organization can survive recession as well as prepare for future growth. We are told to move resources towards the areas that are strategically important, cut off dead end projects, make hard decisions. In other words, do exactly what we should have been doing all along.  Problem is, if it was that easy then we would have been doing it all along.  Most budget cutbacks follow a familiar pattern:  First – nibbling.  Every department can cut a few percentage points off their budgets without making any strategic decisions about the business.  The survivors have to … Continue reading

Dump Your Marketing Department

Your marketing budget has been cut 50%.  So what. Do the company a favor and figure out a way to get rid of it all together. That may be a bit rough, but truth is when the boss says cut costs the accountant aims for the Marcom budget cause it’s easy and below the line. Most accountants are also very well versed in the old  Wanamaker quote about 50% of your advertising budget being waisted…just don’t know which 50%, and still believe it. (As an old Hallmark Cards guy I have a soft spot in my heart for Wanamaker, he did fund the campaign for Mother’s Day after all. But if your marketing budget/ad budget is 50% waisted in this day and age, then you’ve screwed up.)  Unfortunately in many organizations departmentalization created ‘marketing departments’ that really only focus on communication with suppliers and customers.  The marketing professionals scattered throughout the organization … Continue reading