What Does Innovation Mean?
Merriam-Webster defines innovation as-
“1: the introduction of something new
2: a new idea, method, or device”
It’s something many of us are chasing, especially people or businesses trying to make a name for themselves. It’s desire to be the next big thing. Innovation is also about risks, trying new things, and shaking things up.
However… innovation cannot be real or last without the followers, constituents, partners, thought leaders, clients, patients, and more.
I am someone with diabetes, but I also work in the space and am involved in various aspects of the community. I identify with many roles in this capacity. It can be hard to differentiate roles in certain settings so I usually come with all of them and have a specific one at the forefront. My primary “role” that day at the Innovation Summit was as a patient.
The day was filled with speakers and panels from different companies with a focus on (you guessed it) innovation. That day I asked a lot of questions or made statements, and sometimes they were questions that people didn't want to be asked. That is exactly why I asked them, but mostly I asked to see how they would respond. Often it is easy to tell when a person or company is authentic. When it comes to healthcare, this also includes being able to see if the patient is at the center of concern and drive for innovation.
For me, I can see it online, but in person, sometimes it includes some questions. I look young, and they might not know what role I fill. That shouldn’t matter. The responses and attitudes towards my questions showed me the authenticity of the speakers and companies, but to also see how they viewed the roles of different groups such as patients.
Innovation means making a change, trying something new, and trust. At some point this means asking people to try your idea or hear you out. For patients, trying something new can be a scary change in care which means trust is important.
It’s important that innovation doesn’t forget different groups at play such as patients. When I feel respected and listened to in whatever role or roles I’m in (especially as a patient), I’m more likely to give that piece of innovation a chance. I'm more likely to support and offer help or try something if asked.
Innovation cannot be the next big thing without others.