Since starting the Health for America at MedStar Health fellowship, I have been gifted or loaned many books. Each book has helped deepen my understanding of one of the pillars or phases of the fellowship. The newest book in my collection is Eric Ries' second book The Startup Way: How Modern Companies Use Entrepreneurial Management to Transform Culture and Drive Long-Term Growth. My co-fellow, Renee, and I received Eric Ries’ new book at the 2017 Lean Startup Week conference.
To kick off the ideation phase of the fellowship, Renee and I traveled to San Francisco last week to attend the main conference days of Eric Ries’ Lean Startup Week 2017, engaging in presentations and workshops focused on entrepreneurship and lean methodology. This conference brings together intrapreneurs and entrepreneurs from a wide range of organizations, including startups, large and small corporations, government agencies, and community organizations.
Our attendance at the event was made possible by the Lean Startup Co. generously awarding our program discounted Bootstrapper Passes again this year that support non-profits and very early-stage startups. In thanks, Renee and I have captured our key takeaways from the conference below to help spread the valuable information and energy from this event. We love lean startup and think you will too!
Renee Kakareka, 2017-18 HFA Fellow - Integrative Medicine
When reviewing all of the possible sessions to attend, I was really interested in using lean principles for social impact. In the “Lean Data to Rapidly Assess Social Impact” session featuring Amy Ahean from Acumen, Yon Jimenez-Macuso of Renaissance Entrepreneurship, and Emma Lalley of New Story, the discussion focused on gathering data to track the growth and success of social impact programs and companies. They emphasized the need to work with the communities and get their feedback through surveys and interviews catered to their culture. These questions can then be narrowed from broad, qualitative interview discussions or surveys, to focused, specific, quantitative questions. As I start to ideate on a program that I can possibly build out in integrative medicine, an important component is illustrating the value of these services for patients through key metrics.
Strategyzer Co-Founder Alex Osterwalder explained how we can use strategy within a large organization to promote innovation and disruption without destroying the business or the model. He explained the use of an idea matrix ranking risk and profitability. As milestones are met, ideas move from “explore” to “exploit”. However, having a business liaison between the side of the company doing the “exploring” to the portion of the company “exploiting” can help to ensure everyone is on the same page.
Lastly, in a private breakfast Sharon and I attended, Michael Hagler, president of Clevertech, gave some advice for managing client and remote team relationships: (1) Provide an update on work once a day. (2) Train non-techies in tech verbiage. (3) Provide a business-focused description of big milestones for key business leaders. (4) Ensure there is a liaison with decision-making autonomy on the project. In health care, key stakeholders often have packed, important schedules, which can slow the use of ‘lean’ process methodologies. Mutual understanding and ownership with project updates can be important in getting tasks accomplished efficiently and effectively.
Sharon Rodriguez, 2017-18 HFA Fellow – Telehealth
One of my favorite insights from the conference came from Vanessa Colella, Head of Citi Ventures and Citi’s Chief Innovation Officer. During her keynote session, she discussed Citi’s client- and customer-focused growth strategy. As noted by Vanessa, Citi has worked to stamp out variability in its banking process in order to make banking predictable for its customers. In telehealth, variability in processes must be stamped out for providers and patients. Likewise, telehealth software must be predictable and usable for both patients and providers.
Another highlight of the conference was listening to speaker Jyoti Shukla, Vice President of User Experience at Nordstrom. Jyoti discussed strategies for building customer-focused teams and shared stories about empowering the entrepreneurial spirit at Nordstrom. As Jyoti noted, intrapreneurs can serve as catalysts and change agents in organizations. As I ideate on telehealth ideas and projects, I will remember Jyoti’s advice to be curious, embrace discomfort, expect the unexpected, and ride with change.