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Tag: Creativity Inc.

What Healthcare Can Learn from Pixar’s Braintrust

Screen Shot 2014-05-02 at 7.55.16 AMI am reading Creativity, Inc. right now by Ed Catmull, the president of Pixar Animation and Disney Animation.

One particular quote by Catmull that has stuck with me personally over the last few days is this:

“At some point, every Pixar movie sucks.”

Which got me thinking – are we in the “suck” part of transforming healthcare right now?

In my opinion, all roads lead to yes.  Still, I don’t want to dwell on the suck part, I want to focus on how one of the world’s most innovative companies, Pixar, transforms their “ugly babies” (mediocre ideas) into something magical (a la Toy Story 2 or my personal favorite, Up) – and how the healthcare industry can learn fromPixar’s “Braintrust” model.

Forget that it’s cliché – celebrate failure

One of the key things that make the Braintrust at Pixar unique is the fact that candor and honesty are truly placed on a pedestal.  More so, failure is celebrated to a certain degree in the culture Catmull outlines.

He writes, “If you aren’t experiencing failure, then you’re making a far worse mistake: You are being driven by the desire to avoid it.”

Which leads me to something failure related that many in the healthcare industry have debated – whether the government did the right thing by incentiving providers to adopt electronic health records (EHRs).  I think many would agree that the answer to that is no.

Instead of touting the percentage of organizations reaching certain stages of meaningful use attestation, would the government’s honest admittance of a certain degree of failure provide a chance to successfully redirect efforts?

I think yes.

Yet, due to the risk adverse nature of the healthcare industry and the engrained fear of failure in all of us, we (not just government) are all too often guilty of pushing forward with similar mediocre ideas merely to see them through when they may have been better served by being put to rest.

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