Why Imitation Should Walk Hand in Hand with Innovation

Imitation vs Innovation

by Houston Klassen, Executive VP, Infinite Leap

In a recent Forbes’ interview, Epic CEO Judy Faulkner pointed out the value of imitation in driving positive changes. She referred to the practice as “imitating to innovate,” and encouraged healthcare systems to watch what others are doing and share best practices so others can replicate them.

Ms. Faulkner’s points resonate well with our company philosophy.

While we certainly need to advocate for smart healthcare — where healthcare systems become safer, less expensive, and more efficient — many of these first steps can be taken simply by adopting widely recognized best practices and committing to a culture of continuous improvement.

So while imitation is often considered a second-rate behavior for those who can’t think for themselves, to us it is a notable and worthwhile characteristic of intelligent people who don’t waste resources “reinventing the wheel.”

Our consultants help healthcare organizations illuminate inefficiencies in their operational processes and we leverage real-time technology solutions as a tool to solve operational bottlenecks and improve the patient experience. However, we are not pushing our healthcare clients to move to the newest technologies just to satisfy the urge of being the most cutting-edge. We help our clients maximize their existing investments in technology by optimizing what they already have in place and stimulating conversations on how to leverage it for additional use cases. Much of what we teach to our new clients is a result of the lessons we learned while perfecting our methodologies in past RTLS projects.

We always look for ways to innovate, because it’s exciting and can lead to break-through outcomes: however, we always start by implementing those things that have worked well and produced results elsewhere. From our experience, innovation can often occur just by questioning “how things have always been done.” In our space, innovation also occurs because the technology and resulting data from real-time systems also enable healthcare systems to implement process change in a way that could not be done before.

I believe that our approach, which is that imitation should walk hand in hand with innovation, is why healthcare organizations choose us to be their technology partner:

1) we know where the landmines are so they don’t have to learn them the hard way, and
2) we know how to get to value as quickly as possible by replicating proven methodologies and best practices.

We also realize that, while our expert consultants are the most experienced in the industry, there are also others who come up with amazing ideas that should be replicated and shared openly. This is one of the reasons we created the RTLS in Healthcare Community, where everyone is encouraged to share best practices and ask for input.

Clearly, there is a proper blend between innovation and imitation, but we do believe that there are numerous examples of significant innovations that have been tried, tested, and proven that can easily and quickly be imitated. So don’t wait; start to “imitate to innovate.”