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I ended last year’s ILN director’s message with “The year ahead of us promises to be exciting and turbulent. If ever there was a time that innovation and design are needed, it’s now.” Little did we know how exciting and how turbulent, nor how much innovation and design are still needed. We spent most of the year with an anxious anticipation for the ACA Exchanges. And their launch was messy to say the least. Big change and big innovation are messy, but this also points to the lesson we all know well: fail early to succeed sooner.
So 2013 for the ILN was a year of experimentation, with little failures guiding us to bigger success. The Spring InPerson hosted by Boston University and the Center for Integration of Medicine and Innovative Technology (CIMIT) is a great example. We learned from past meetings that the basic Open Space format is great, but there was something missing to jolt the work to the next level. And so, we added seed funding distributed by crowdsourcing. The jolt was felt. Via experimentation the theme of (R)evolution inspired three projects to move forward. You can explore one of these (r)evolutionary projects on page 80.
The experimentation continued with the Autumn InPerson co-hosted by the UCLA Institute for Innovation in Health and the Center for Care Innovations. This meeting’s experiment was size. Just how big can an ILN InPerson get and still be meaningful? Over 160 attendees proved that bigger is sometimes better. It also was fitting that our theme was Blur. Although it was intended to suggest the disappearing line between care and life (and wow, were there some cool ideas!), it also doubled as an inflection point for ILN InPerson Meetings. The ILN meetings are getting big. Do we constrain them or open them up? It’s blurry. There are no right answers. But we have some surprises in store for 2014 and 2015. Stay tuned.
And so here is to celebrating the blurry, the unknown, and the experiments; it’s where great things live.
Yours in innovation,
I woke up Sunday morning, Mother’s Day, feeling off…very off. My throat was razor-blade sore and feeling achy. It also happened to be the day of my soon-to-be Godson’s Christening. Somehow I made it through the ceremony, but at the party afterwards it started to get worse. Now I have to tell you, at the party there were five moms from age 41 to 73; a Polish mom, a Belarusian mom, a French mom, a Polish-Russian mom, and an Anglo mom. No joke.
“Chris you don’t look so good.” said the Anglo mom.
“I know. Its my throat, and I feel awful.” I immediately felt five sets of eyes on me. My words had activated the mom-emergency-response-system. Looking at each mom, you could see the calculations being conducted, centuries of passed wisdom being accessed, and just a little bit of posturing.
“You maast shqueeze frrresh lemon wit equal shut-gar, and drrrik everrry hour,” said the Polish mom.
The Belarusian mom cut in, “No no no. You must cut lemons, dip in honey, and eat them.” This actually had to be translated by the Polish-Russian mom as she only spoke Russian. Watching her explain this remedy was a bit disconcerting as she kept pointing at me and chopping.
“Gargle every 15 minutes with Listerine. It’ll kill everything. I swear by it!” said the French mom.
“Tea with lemon and honey.” said the Anglo mom.
On the plus side I received five remedies in two minutes flat. The downside was that I had five set of eyes all waiting for me to choose my “medicine”, potentially declaring one mom the winner. I slowly backed out of the kitchen, and crawled into the guest bed for a snooze. I would not be taking sides at the moment.
As I was falling asleep I starting thinking that what I had just experienced was Google in action the last several thousands years. A small group of moms sharing, comparing and competing with remedies to keep their families and friends safe. And to be honest, this old fashioned “Google” was so much warmer than the online version.
And it reminds me that healing is a “touch experience”. As we shoot for high tech solutions to keep us healthy through our tablets and smartphones, as drugs are mailed to our homes, and we conduct office visits by email, that part of the healing is another person putting a hand on your forehead, offering a gentle smile, and telling you its gonna be ok.
Which did I finally choose? The tea with lemon and honey of course. For that was my mom who offered it up.