3 ways to create a culture of innovation

Business innovation doesn't just happen; it has to be encouraged and nurtured by the right professional environment. So say speakers at a Women Who Inspire discussion sponsored by Boston's Northeastern University, including the chief innovation officer for Boston Children's Hospital.

Three major ways to create an innovative workplace culture emerged from the discussion, as reported by the Boston Business Journal:

  • Empower employees. Give hospital employees the power to problem-solve and innovate by creating an atmosphere in which they feel comfortable taking risks and have resources available to them, said Naomi Fried of Boston Children's Hospital.

  • Take calculated risks. Provide tools allowing employees to explore possible scenarios and develop plans with confidence, said Deborah Theobald, co-founder and CEO of healthcare IT company Vecna Technologies.

  • Hire a diverse team. Look for people who demonstrated creativity in previous positions, and who don't work the same way you do, Theobald said.

Hospitals may even want to build slack time into doctors' schedules, giving them time to develop innovative approaches to problems. Doctors are driven by personal passion, but they rarely have time to pursue projects they're passionate about, according to experts in medical innovation.

Innovation is a major theme in an industry changing as rapidly as healthcare. One observer dubs it the Age of Enlightenment for healthcare, with providers demonstrating true patient centricity, developing partnerships to build networks and data-driven initiatives.

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