Paul Plsek is an internationally acclaimed innovation expert and has recently been made a Senior Fellow of Ko Awatea
I often get asked why I’m so passionate about healthcare improvement and I guess the simple answer is I want to do some good in this world. Like many people who work in healthcare I have a story to tell.
I started my career as an engineer in telecommunications at AT&T in America and part of my role included product design and production. It’s here that I learnt about quality improvement and quality control and I took those skills with me as I worked with various industries around the world. Years later I would meet the inspirational Don Berwick, who along with other visionary leaders believed that healthcare could benefit from what industries are doing around quality improvement. This led to the development of the Institute of Healthcare Improvement in 1991.
Over the past few years, I’ve had the great privilege of travelling around the world talking to people about health improvement, innovation and creativity. The point I try to get across is for people to think about what they are doing and have been taught and realise it’s not the only way. I often say creativity is like the reverse gear in your car. Most of the time you drive your car in a forward gear, but every so often you need to reverse out or go around. Creativity is like that – it’s good to have our routines, but sometimes you need to take a step back and ask yourself, does it have to be that way anymore.
A great example of thinking creativity is around technology, which has advanced over the years. While we can book our movie tickets, or do our banking online, why can’t we use similar technology to book our doctor appointments or fill out our forms online? Instead of going to see your doctor, wouldn’t it be great to skype him or her from your home. It’s about being creative and questioning the status quo – what can we be doing better.
That’s why I admire the work Ko Awatea is doing, which is setting up the platform and foundations for improvement ideas and initiatives to thrive. In fact, I hadn’t realised just how much Ko Awatea and CM Health was doing – from improvement collaboratives, education programmes, e -learning and a major APAC Forum.
I’m excited to be working with the team at Ko Awatea. I believe in what Ko Awatea is doing and wholeheartedly support a Centre that provides leadership in improvement and innovation.