Saturday, September 02, 2006

Pit-crew Tactics in the Operating Room

Tom Kelley, the General Manager of IDEO, recently gave a talk in London about one of the themes from his new book, "The Ten Faces of Innovation." He discussed one of the faces, the cross-pollinator, who "can create something new and better through an unexpected juxtaposition of seemingly unrelated ideas or concepts" and often innovates "by discovering a clever solution in one context or industry, then translating it successfully to another."


The example he gave was that of a group of emergency room doctors who took lessons from the planning and precision tactics of the Ferrari Formula One race team. Now an Italian newspaper, Il Giomale reports that a surgical team from a British Hospital actually reached out to the Italians. As reported in LunchoverIP:

"The post-operation phase is probably the most sensitive, and until a couple of years ago it was chaotic: there was a lot of noise, everyone moved around with no coordination with the others: we've totally redesigned our way of working", he says. The Ferrari people filmed the doctors at work, then dissected the images with them. "For years we've been convinced that we were doing things pretty well, but seeing the tape it was shocking to notice our lack of coordination", says Nick Pigott of the intensive-care unit.

The Ferrarists gave suggestions on people's training, disposition, synchronization, and how to codify effective and time-saving procedures. Elliott told the journalist that the cross-pollination "has transformed the intensive-care unit in a center of silent precision" where "the complications of operations have been substantially reduced".

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