Entrepreneurs Create Value, Not Just Companies

DECEMBER 02, 2015
Arlen Meyers, MD, MBA
There is a conventional wisdom that innovation=entrepreneurship=new venture creation. I believe this is misguided and stems from a disagreement around definitions and goals, particularly as it applies to physicians and Sick Care companies and organizations. Instead, biomedical and health entrepreneurship, in my view, means the pursuit of opportunity with scarce resources that has the goal of creating and harvesting user-defined value through the deployment of innovation. Thus, there are many ways to create value other than creating a startup. This is particularly applicable to intrapreneurs, physician employees trying to add value to patients, and, in so doing, also adding value to their organizations. 

Value is the difference between the real and perceived, user-defined, tangible and intangible benefits less the tangible and intangible costs. Innovation is different from an idea or invention and describes something that is new or something old done in a new way (qualitative aspect) that creates a user-defined, significant multiple of value when compared to the status quo or competitive offerings (quantitative aspect).

As I've described in other posts,
intrapreneurship comes with its own set of challenges and opportunities. Most intrapreneurial innovation and change efforts fail and larger and larger organizations have a hard time creating innovative products and services, including Sick Care organizations. In addition, most acquisitions fail at the organizational, team, and individual level. The challenge is to beat the odds. But how? Sick Care organizations should:

1. Differentiate and train intrapreneurs on entrepreneurship, not just management or leadership.

2. Leaderpreneurs should lead innovators, not manage innovation.

3. The endpoint is a significant multiple of user-defined value.

4. Stop using startups as the only measure of entrepreneurial success

5. Hire, develop, and promote for innovation

6. Involve end users often and early in the product development, testing, and development stages

7. Stop calling marginal process improvement innovation or disruption. Emphasize transformational change over tinkering

8. Do a better job of navigating the last mile, i.e. changing patient and physician behavior and habits.

9. Align corporate and individual values.

10. Create ways to give innovators the freedom to work on the new instead of working on the now 99% of the time.

Entrepreneurship is not just about creating startups. Consequently, doctors and other health professionals with an entrepreneurial mindset can participate at various stages of their careers by assuming multiple roles. As result, industries and hospitals are experimenting with creating innovation outposts to overcome the formidable barriers to creating value, not just Newcos.



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