Sunday, May 1, 2011

3 Quick Thoughts on Copycatting Hospitals

Mark Graban over at the Lean Blog got me thinking about the pros and cons of copycatting (using what works somewhere else to fill a need of your own). I'm not talking about plagiarism, intellectual property theft, or anything like that; I'm just talking about one hospital copying the tools and techniques of another, as opposed to coming to solutions independently. Here are three quick thoughts on copycatting:

  1. Copycatting is supported by the "no need to reinvent the wheel" principle, which is logical and intuitive, especially for hospital folks who are busy saving lives and whatnot.
  2. However, copycatting is a barrier to creative thinking and the building of the problem-solving muscles hospital teams need to foster continuous improvement.
  3. Copycatting precludes the emergence of innovative ideas that other hospitals have not thought of yet
One last thought...there's something about copycatting that makes me think we are sometimes too scared of failure.  Maybe our risk aversion prompts us to go with what other hospitals have used, as opposed to trying something new and failing.  Does this mindset stem from traditional management philosophy that encourages us to hide problems?