Getting the best people in one room doesn’t always solve the problem.

On Thursday, Henry King spoke about a workshop for a large hospital trying to transform health and wellness. Hospitals have enjoyed 40% margins for years. However, the recession and subsequent cuts in employer contributions to health care along with medical inflation have squeezed margins. While the workshop included top talent throughout the nation, the multidisciplinary team failed to resolve any significant issue for three reasons. One, the team was working on an unbounded problem with an unbounded solution set. The unconstrained problem wasn’t suitable for an academic approach. It instead favors a prototype and learn approach to bounding the problem before exploring solutions. Two, there was a semantic breakdown in how people would use certain terms exacerbated by the number of disciplines represented. A predetermined glossary of terms could have resolved this at the onset. Three, some members of the client team were vociferously against change and proved to be counterproductive.

We can only work with constraints. Without constraints, we can’t do anything.

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