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Saturday, January 28, 2017

Ideas vs Innovation

Listen to the Ideas and Innovation Podcast - Mp3

You've found the Med Student Learning Podcast. Welcome.

This podcast will focus on what seems like a generic topic the difference between ideas and innovations. But since our target audience is full of medically oriented folks who want to change things, this is a crucial difference. So let's get started.

Think of the process of making a change as 5 steps
  1. come up with an idea
  2. turn the idea into a innovation
  3. form the innovation into a project to capitalize on the idea/innovation
  4. develop, test and refine your intended creation,
  5. deploy it to the intended audience.
Step #1 Come up with an Idea: Well ideas come quickly and often. Some are complicated. As an example there is Elon Musk's superfast mini-train traveling in a near vacuum (the hyperloop). Some are simple (a new button color on the home page). But you can't turn an idea into a project or a product - much less deploy it to the target audience. Your audience won't adopt an idea. As an example, a fire needs a spark, but that's all a spark is; it isn't a fire.

Step #2 Turn the Idea into an Innovation: On the other hand creating an innovation is tricky. Let's use the hyperloop concept as our example. For the hyperloop to be an innovation it has to actually do something that prior transportation (like airplanes, trains, cars, and buses) doesn't do. Clearly a hyperloop in California has the potential to be an innovation. One in North Carolina, probably not. How do we figure it out?

Since the final step, (#5) involves the audience, we need consider the audience. At a minimum, innovations require that the audience: 1) recognizes the value and 2) has a need that the value will address. For the hyperloop, the innovation is that folks who travel frequently from LA to San Francisco frequently are frustrated with how long it takes and would love a solution that is faster. For the idea of a new button on the home page, readers of the home page want to learn about some cool new software or game or video, but they can't find it;

So if you are coming up with a new way to address medical student education don't focus on the idea -  that is your new technology, tool, or approach. Instead ask yourself, what are students struggling with,  how can my idea address the problem AND most importantly, will they see my technology, tool, or approach as a solution to their problem? In order words, not just do they need it, but will they want it?

Even better, ask yourself if they desire it?

And once you've convinced yourself you have an innovation not just an idea you can proceed to the see if you can convince someone else. That is key for advancing to Step #3, Creating a project. And the subject of a future podcast.

Bye for now. Keep coming up with ideas on how we can improve medical student learning. But don't forget to turn them into true innovations....

Written and Produced by Brad Tanner, All Rights Reserved
Sound Credit: Escape by soLid Xciter

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