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12: Cliff Illig

Day Zero

12: Cliff Illig

This episode is hosted by Day Zero Advisory Council Member Donald Trigg, Former President, Cerner Corporation. Don speaks with Cliff Illig, one of the co-founders of Cerner Corporation. The conversation…
January 4, 2022

12: Cliff Illig

Meet Cliff Illig:

Cliff Illig is one of the co-founders of Cerner Corporation. He has served as Cerner’s Chief Operating Officer, President, and Vice Chairman. He is also a principal owner of Sporting Kansas City and founder of FanThreeSixty. Cliff was named to the Entrepreneur Hall of Fame as well as awarded the Henry W. Bloch International Entrepreneur of the Year. He is a graduate of the University of Kansas with a degree in accounting and business administration.

Key Insights:

Cliff Illig is a key player in the healthcare industry and has been driving impact and change for multiple decades. 

  • Becoming a Founder. Cliff and his partners realized they wanted to found a software company. They made two lists, one with industries they had knowledge of, and the other industries they knew nothing about. Healthcare was on the second list, but their knowledge of manufacturing helped create their first product for sharing lab data within a hospital. (8:05)
  • Handling Complexity. To handle complexity, Cliff recommends breaking the problem down into smaller, compartmentalized pieces and working on those individually.Then step back and see how those individually improved pieces look combined. (12:26)
  • If You Oppose, You Got to Propose. Early on at Cerner, Cliff and his team decided that if you spoke against something, you had to also present a better idea. This empowered employees: ideas were not stuck down because they were “bad,” rather they were replaced with better ones. (28:50)

This episode is hosted by Don Trigg who is a member of the Advisory Council for Day Zero and is the former President of Cerner Corporation.

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