Innovation with a Purpose: Jeremiah Gray of EarthSafe
There are two types of innovation.
First, there’s innovation in the underlying technology, tools or components that can be used to do something. Let’s call it local innovation. This ussually starts as experimentation with new ways of doing things just to see if it’s possible… to see what happens. It does not start with a specific problem and can be completely fueled by curiosity and a sense of wonder. Local innovation is important because it creates new opportunities that didn’t exist before. However, it is not the type of innovation that leads to real change in the world and we can get into trouble when we pretend that it is.
Second, there’s innovation in the way we actually do our jobs. Let’s call this systems innovation. Systems innovation must start with a problem that needs to be solved. The problem, or current state, is clearly defined and the cost to the system is well known. The desired state is also well defined, and we at least have a plan for how we will measure and prove success. The real work, and therefore real systems innovation, occurs between the current and desired state. And that’s what we’re here to talk about today.
The reality is that there’s a lot of innovation just for the sake of innovation… it seems as if product development is outpacing an understanding of the actual needs.
Jeremiah Gray, EarthSafe Chemical Alternatives
Our guest is Jeremiah Gray, COO and founding partner of EarthSafe Chemical Alternatives. Jeremiah walks us through his framework for innovation with purpose and you’ll see that it requires systems thinking. The conversation yields an innovation continuum that looks something like this:
- Clearly define the problem you are trying to solve. What is the current state? Why is it worth changing?
- Clearly define the desired state. What should it look like? How will we measure and prove success?
- What are the constants (i.e. things outside of our control, or things that we cannot change)?
- What are the variables that we can change?
- What is a solution that fits within the boundaries defined so far?
- Who or what else is impacted by our approach?
- Where are we finding, or creating points of friction that will hinder success?
- How can we address those points of friction with our product, services, or through collaboration?
- Have we created any new risks for our customers? How can we mitigate those?
- Establish an ongoing and iterative approach for ensuring our customers continued success.
The big take away for me is this: Innovation with a purpose requires you to have a laser focus on your customer’s ultimate success. Your goal is not to build a product/service that CAN solve your customer’s problem, but to build it and deliver it in such a way that they actually succeed. That requires long-term, systems thinking.
Jeremiah explains ErthSafe’s approach to innovation by way of example. The launch of the EvaClean Infection Prevention System is a clinic in systems innovation and sets a high bar for taking responsibility for your work. If you’re innovating in healthcare, then there are lessons in here for you. Enjoy!
For full show notes: https://thehcbiz.com/innovation-with-purpose-jeremiah-gray-earthsafe/
This is a TIPS Deep Dive interview. Learn more about The Infection Prevention Strategy (TIPS) at http://infectiontips.org/