Take a Moonshot and Make a Giant Leap for Healthcare

This past July, The Health Management Academy gathered many leaders from within and outside of our industry for a summit that probed “CEO Leadership in an Age of Disruption.” There were many heavy-hitters in attendance, but in particular, I thought the discussion of Google’s Eric “Astro” Teller was particularly interesting.

Teller’s official title at Google X, the company’s research and development lab, is “Captain of Moonshots.” And if that’s not a disruptive title, I’m not sure what is. (It should be noted that renowned author Thomas Friedman discussed Teller in his opening remarks entitled “Thriving in an Age of Accelerations.” Teller himself was not present.)

Friedman borrowed the image below from Teller who believes that for the first time in history, the rate of technological change is greater than human adaptability. This creates a reality that is a profound source of human discontent.

So, what’s the answer? Teller thinks that the only way for society to adapt is for individuals to learn faster and for organizations to govern smarter (italics mine). Essentially, disruption must be an organic component of all business environments.

Declining barriers to entry enable agile competitors. Existing business models make it hard for legacy players to pivot. Companies that thrive—in or out of healthcare—will be the ones that continue to experiment, stay nimble and find innovative business practices that can be quickly integrated into their operations.

Just over 48 years ago, Apollo 11 landed on the moon, and Neil Armstrong, the first human to walk on the moon took his “giant leap for mankind.” If healthcare is truly going make that kind of giant/disruptive leap, it’s imperative that we all keep our eyes on the prize and keep working toward our own moonshots. It’s also imperative that we work with our own organizations to teach them how to positively embrace change.

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