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WHY are you a healthcare innovator?

simon sinek explaining why

Every healthcare entrepreneur makes a journey. If you start to innovate in health, you will definitely have to go through 5 basic steps and decide upon them. 

The first step is to answer this question: what is your mission? WHY are you a healthcare innovator? Try to answer this even before you make a product or start investing money in your business. And also think about your goal: where do you want to be in 1 year from now?

Since Simon Sinek, we know that entrepreneurs starting with the question WHY are more successful than others.

Simon Sinek: why are you a healthcare innovator?
Simon Sinek

Sinek is a marketer turned into a public speaker and author. He recently started Optimism Press, ‘to spread the ideas that inspire us and to give the tools to build a more optimistic world’.

In his first and famous 2009 Tedtalk Sinek introduced the golden circle of entrepreneurship, forcing us to think first about:

  • WHY: your mission
  • ten HOW: your priorities
  • and WHAT: your companies specific activities
the golden circle by Simon Sinek
the golden circle: why, how, what?

It really doesn’t matter whether you’re starting a whole new business or ‘just’ a new project within your company: thinking about the golden circle will help you.

How will that help you?

First of all, your WHY is your guideline, your secure base. It will help you in difficult and insecure times or when the results of your innovation are not right on track as you would want them to be.

And be sure everyone has these moments!

Second, it’s your story to your customers. Healthcare is people’s business: your WHY, the goal of your health innovation, is important to many of your future customers.

Third, your WHY is what lean startup author Eric Ries calls your ‘pivot’ to decide what to do after you have tested your innovation: go on, change, or quit?

Your mission (WHY) is what defines your company, even if you might change all other aspects of your business model during the entrepreneur’s journey.

The starting point for corporate companies innovating in health

Corporate companies can make the mistake to take their existing portfolio, business model or structure as a starting point for their innovations. This brings the risk of missing opportunities and making offers no one is waiting for.

As healthcare is evolving towards value-based health in many countries worldwide, it’s important to really put your mission and your value (how you add to health outcomes) central in your innovation process.

So: the first question about your health innovation is not what or for who but WHY?

Now, how do you write down your WHY?

Follow these steps:

  • Take a blank piece of paper and write by hand
  • Start from your gut feeling and try to write down in easy, accessible words. Try to avoid hollow words and phrases, but write the same way you think or you would tell it to a friend or colleague.
  • First, write a lot. And then start to select. Think about those things you do not want to change, that is non-discussable for you: what is your main drive to be enthusiastic about the health innovation you have in mind?
  • Keep in mind your mission shouldn’t be perfect. It is your basis. You still have the opportunity to change or add things later on.
  • Try to have the whole golden circle on one piece of paper: 1 written page answering why, how and what of your project.

A little trick I use when I have to write down totally new concepts is this one: time yourself 30 minutes to write down al your thoughts. Take 15 minutes to reread and to delete or add text. Than sleep over for one night. Take 30 minutes in the morning of the next day to finish your text. Ready! Leave it the way it is for now.

Some examples in healthcare to inspire you

When I started dashplus a couple of years ago now, one of the first things I did was: buying a nice small notebook (I love the ones of Paperblanks…) and writing my mission in it.

To be precise: write down 2-3 versions of my mission and then bringing it back to one …

This is the why of dashplus: to change healthcare into a value-based system adding quality of life for many people. That’s why I help health entrepreneurs big and small to start, build and grow health innovations by business advice, the blog and public speaking.

Kaiser Permanente is one of the biggest health insurance systems in the USA. Their WHY: ‘Kaiser Permanente exists to provide affordable, high-quality health care services to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve.’

Siza is a Dutch disability care organisation. Their aim is to ‘make a world of difference to be able to live your own life‘. They make this reality for both users and employees. As a consequence of this vision, Siza is pioneering in the field of e-health.

Belgian scaleup Cubigo wants to empower people to live independent & healthy using convenient technology.

Defining the mission (WHY) of your innovative project is the first step. This blog explains the 4 other questions you’ll need to answer when starting your innovation journey.

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