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What Drives Innovation in Health Care?

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Innovation is in vogue in many industries including health care. But what exactly is innovation? That is the issue hospitals and academic medical centers are grappling with today. After instituting one or two initiatives and hiring a chief innovation officer, the effort often tapers off. The result is that true innovation — one that transforms — has trouble catching on.

Wharton management professor John Kimberly is doing research in this area of health care with the goal of further refining theories of innovation within the context of large, complex organizations. He says part of the issue is choosing the chief innovation officer: Is it better to have a doctor or someone who knows the medical industry? Or would an outside technologist who can take a broader view of innovation be a better choice? Also, what are the outcomes of these efforts at innovation?

Knowledge@Wharton recently spoke with Kimberly to discuss the implications of his research. An edited transcript follows. More: http://knlg.net/1fuivJq

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