The O-Gap (or Comparing Healthcare and Construction)

Over the past few years of design and construction industry transformations, I've heard a few comparisons to other industries:
I’d like to propose yet another comparison: the healthcare industry. It certainly isn’t a perfect analogy (what industry is?), but the two industries share characteristics that seem to be barriers to innovation:
  • Complex network  of stakeholders, with mismatched incentives
  • A primarily paper-based process that is 'threatened' by digital records, colocation, and remote teams
  • About 1/3 of personnel effort is considered waste
  • Ego-driven professionals (sorry surgeons...and architects...and contractors...and…)
  • Investigations into digital records, co-location, and remote services
Moreover, unlike the manufacturing or firm industries, healthcare is currently going through its major transformation now. Just like us.

Given the similarities, it was interesting to hear Naomi Fried, PhD share the strategy, successes, and challenges with Boston Children’s Innovation Acceleration Program. Although I ended up with multiple pages of notes, there is one concept that stood out: the O-Gap.

A term coined by Naomi, the O-Gap (operationalization gap) represents the challenges associated with translating a new idea to broad operations. The O-Gap isn't unique to healthcare, or even to “large organizations or networks.” It’s everywhere that innovation is.

Closing the O-Gap is challenging, but Naomi recommends a few strategies:
  • Invoice operations early
  • Engage leadership
  • Consider technical issues which may impede scaling 
Do you see the O-Gap in your organization? What are you doing to close the gap?

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