HIMSS 2015

Navigator 63 – HIMSS 2015 – Interoperability – Meaningful Use – New HIT Partnerships

Such a great HIMSS 2015 meeting last week! We learned so much, connected with old and new friends, and really soaked in the fact that healthcare is finally embracing technology and data! We had some fun as well, check out our HIMSS 2015 photos and tweets @keilenberg and @ll_insights. This week’s News highlights a few of the the hot HIT topics during the conference.

Good luck (and, be safe!) to all of our friends going to Interop 2015 next week!

Warm regards,

Kristin Eilenberg
Founder and CEO
Lodestone Logic

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News In The News
Distilling Noise into Specific Signals

As expected, there was a lot of Health IT news before, during, and after HIMSS 2015 last week. Hot topics include: the IBM Watson Health Care Cloud, new partnerships, interoperability, and meaningful use.

Interoperability:  In response to the outrage generated by certain vendors blocking data exchange and charging high fees for data release, EPIC Systems, Cerner, and AthenaHealth have at least temporarily suspended fees for information exchange.  To date, the Federal Government has invested $28 billion to promote health IT in hospitals and practices.  The ONC is working with the FTC to address information blocking.

During the closing keynote at HIMSS 2015, National Coordinator for HIT Karen DeSalvo, M.D., called for public and private sectors to work together on interoperability so that “Together, we can achieve our vision. We are in reach of every American having access to their health records, when and where it matters.”

Meaningful Use: The significant easing of meaningful use requirements proposed by the feds just prior to HIMSS was hotly contested by some at the conference.  The proposed rule reduces the required number of patients that actually access their records from 5% to just 1 patient.  Patient advocates are now calling for a ‘day of action’ or #DataIndependenceDay in which patients request their health records from all of their healthcare providers.


Places Places To Be
Mapping Connection and Content Opportunities

Navigator 61 – Cancer – HIMSS15

We are so excited to be heading to HIMSS next week! We are looking forward to seeing many of our friends and colleagues during the show. If you have plans to be there, please let me know! I’d love to re-connect and catch up!

This week’s Navigator highlights several programs that were aired last week about innovation in oncology and cancer care. These programs just reinforced my love for science and respect for the people on the front lines. We haven’t found the cure for cancer yet, but there is so much good stuff happening; there are beacons of hope and opportunity.

I have an ask. I am walking in the Indianapolis Race for the Cure on April 18th in memory of my Grandmother and Great Aunt and in honor of my Aunts and other family members and friends that are breast cancer survivors. I would appreciate your support towards this cause. If you’d like to send a donation, please go to my Race page.

Warm regards,

Founder and CEO
Lodestone Logic

News In The News
Distilling Noise into Specific Signals

The Fight Against Cancer on Primetime TV: Cancer was the focus of two very compelling television shows last week.  60 minutes aired an episode that followed brain cancer patients for 10 months through clinical trials using a reengineered polio virus to ‘Kill Cancer.’ Since the airing, the Duke University’s Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center has been inundated with requests to be part of the clinical trial.  Giving people hope are the dramatic results of some in the trial who are now cancer free as a result of a single treatment.  While polio is not the only virus being studied for cancer treatment, the results using the polio virus have led a few to throw the ‘cure’ word around.

The PBS documentary: Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies, documents humanities historic and epic battle against cancer.  Included is the cycle of hope and disappointment along with eventual progress in this ongoing battle.

HIMMS 2015: Upwards of 35K are expected at the Health IT conference in Chicago next week.  Interoperability, the Internet of Things (IoT) and cybersecurity will be in the spotlight. Also expected to be hot topics are: big data, population health management, clinical analytics, business intelligence, and value-based payment reform.

Check out some of the privacy and security offerings here.

HX360 Innovation Challenge is Co-Located with HIMSS: The competition is intended to highlight companies that are making significant contributions to patient experience as relates to not for profit hospitals and health systems.  The live-pitch will be at 2 pm on the 14th and will feature finalists:  Clockwise MD, Ginger.io, WellFrame, and WiserCare.

Places Places To Be
Mapping Connection and Content Opportunities

What are you scared of? 4 Real Reasons People Fear Success

Seriously. What are you scared of?

It’s a simple question that shocks people when I ask it.

I am a very positive and upbeat person. I really enjoy helping people succeed – in business and in their personal lives.  And, I am so fortunate that people trust me with their stories and helping them figure out pathways forward.

Recently, I have found that some of my most confident and successful friends are facing challenges and are getting stuck in ruts.

It’s not because they do not know what to do, it’s because they are holding themselves back.  When I ask all of the typical questions – What do you want to accomplish? What are the assets and tools that you have at your disposal to get to that goal? What’s missing? Who do you have on your ‘bus’? Are they the right people? Who needs to be with you? How are you going to convince them to take a seat? – They’ve got the answers.

Yet, something is holding them back.

They are struggling.

That’s when I ask, “What are you scared of?” The question has the effect of putting electrical panels to a person’s chest and shocking their heart. So simple, yet, it makes the person turn their focus inward. It’s not about external tactics. It’s about them. Makes them ponder what’s really happening.  Getting in touch with the core of their struggle.

My first inclination is to assume that they fear “failure”. Right? Make sense?  Don’t we all fear failure on some level?

If I had bet on it, I would have lost some money.

My friends and colleagues are NOT scared of failure.

It’s the polar opposite.

They fear “success”.

Crazy, right? Success.

I am not a certified therapist of any type, but I get this.

I’ve been there. On the edge of leaping into something that I knew would be successful. More times than not, I overcome the ‘fear of success’ and go ahead and jump… Make it happen. Get shit done.

Yet, I get it. I have had my moments where I relented to the instinct to push pause. Held back. Didn’t push forward even though every bone and muscle wants to move. I still shake my head when I think of those moments. Should’ve, would’ve, could’ve.

Why the sudden inertia forced on myself? How could the thought of ‘success’ immobilize me or any other person?

The reasons may be shocking. Based on my own experiences and what I’ve been able to glean from discussions with friends and colleagues, there are a few things… 

1. Scared of exposure

Success typically means that more people know about you. Know about your skills and abilities. Exposure is a blessing and curse. Your network expands; now, you’ve got connections to do even more! New opportunities surface and, it usually means an increased work load.

2. Scared of being promoted

Having a quantifiable success under your belt typically means that you are going to move up in an organization. If you are not prepared for this type of move up, it creates anxiety until you get the new lay of the land and really rock it out.

3. Scared of abandoning the baby

In many cases, this fear comes from being separated from work that they started. It’s their baby. They feel an obligation to care for it. However, if they succeed, they may get expanded responsibilities and their baby will be handed to someone else. That someone else may not nurture and care for the baby the way that the originator would’ve.

4. Scared of the lack of future success

What if I don’t have another successful idea or project? What if this is where I top out? I have found that the fear of not having another success stops people in their tracks. Many people would rather slow burn something then be seen as a spark or flame that burns hot and fast, but doesn’t sustain.


Many of my friends know that none of these fears hold water with me. Yes, I’ve been there. I let these fears influence me. I pushed pause. However, when I think of those moments, I regret not taking the leap. Getting out of my own way.

Life is uncertain. Believe in yourself. Don’t let the fears keep you from realizing your potential and achieving the success that is at your fingertips.

What are you really scared of?



Navigating Opportunities – What the heck is a lodestone?


Ever wondered why I named this company Lodestone Logic?

A lodestone is not just any rock. It a special rock with natural magnetic properties.

So what?

Early journeymen discovered these magnetic properties and used lodestones in their compasses. Explorers now had a way to plan their journeys, determine their exact location at any point and time during the journey, and allow for travel beyond known portions of the world, learn about new civilizations and cultures, and return home with their new knowledge, relationships, and riches.So what?

In an abstract sense, this is exactly what we hope to do for our Lodestone Logic clients through the types of services that we offer. We want to help companies understand their surroundings and where they are located in the mix, develop and execute plans tied to the opportunities that we’ve identified, and surface the anticipated value from initiating these types of activities.

We are lodestones for our clients. And, the following are just a few descriptions of the type of work that we do for them:

Business Intelligence and Strategic Planning

Our research team at Lodestone Logic can provide you with the deep-dive industry assessments you need to make the right business decisions.  We assess your competition, and help you understand the regulatory, legal, technical, funding, and market forces affecting your business.

With this knowledge in hand, we can work side by side with your leadership to run teams through our structured strategic planning method. Through it, we can help your team identify your best business opportunities, and develop relevant, actionable strategic plans to rally your company’s efforts.

Advocacy and Professional Relations

Lodestone Logic is dedicated to helping our clients lead the discussion in their market segment—and gain the strategic advantages that come with being an industry thought leader.  Our team can help you surface the right organizations, boards and conferences where your company can help advance its goals.  We can help you get your voice heard in the halls of power where data laws and healthcare policies are being debated.  And we can help you forge the right strategic alliances with trade groups, advocacy organizations and policy influencers that will move your business forward in the future.

Health Data Flows and Use

Lodestone Logic is a recognized global expert on health data flows– where health data is being generated, how it is used, where it goes, and how it is stored.  Our team has delivered projects that illuminate the health data flows generated by the patient via the Internet, social media channels, mobile phones, purchasing/transaction records, hospital electronic health records, eRX, billing and insurance company interactions.

As the trade groups, industry leaders, advocacy organizations and world governments convene to discuss the future of health data regulation and ethics, the Lodestone Logic team has been a critical facilitator and connector, planning summits and leading preparation for policy discussions and hearings.  Lodestone Logic has coordinated with organizations like the International Medical Informatics Association, the World Health Organization, American Medical Informatics Association, and the European Commission, as well as numerous healthcare providers, academic health sciences organizations, public health organizations, health insurers, patient and user representatives, and commercial businesses from the biopharmaceutical and technology industries.

Project Management and Execution

With deep expertise in project management, Lodestone Logic can help move your innovative ideas into clear, actionable, tactical execution plans.  We can help you bring together the right internal stakeholders to get the job done, as well as access the right network of qualified resources and experts to supplement your internal resources.

We can help you write sound business plans with measurable ROI, then create project plans with budgets, SWOT analysis and implementation schedules.  Best of all, we can integrate our network of partner vendors with your internal team, while managing execution, tracking and reporting on successes.

We’d love the opportunity to find ways to be your lodestone! If you are interested in learning more about what we can do for you and your organization, please contact us: contact@lodestonelogic.com!


I was invited to be a guest speaker at Rose-Hulman Ventures James R. Baumgardt Distinguished Speaker Series Program. Even though I am a big fan of Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, I am embarrassed to admit it, but I had never had the pleasure to visit the campus. So, when I got in my car, I booted up Google Maps and started driving.

It was an easy drive. I was cruising along and was going to get to Rose-Hulman on time. I did pass a sign that said Road Closed ahead, but I trusted Google Maps and figured that I would be turning off before that point.

Then, it happened.

The road ended.

I sat parked for a minute in total disbelief as staring at a ROAD CLOSED sign.

Yes, I could have sat there and waited for months (years?) for them to finish the construction and re-open the road. Instead, I used the resources that were readily available and quickly identified an alternate route to my destination and was only inconvenienced by a few minutes.

I realized that the mornings experience wasn’t the first road closure that I’ve dealt with. Most of the road closures were not physical like this morning, but had the same effect. I wanted to go somewhere and it was not going to happen the way that I had originally planned. Yet, not all of the closures were total and complete surprises, some were anticipated. Nonetheless, all of the closures required an adjustment to my plans.

This is where it gets exciting. Because instead of thinking about alternative routes to my original destination. In many cases, I realized that I wanted to change my plans altogether and go somewhere different…. Initiating a journey through unchartered wilderness where there are no maps, experiencing things that I would have never predicted, and arriving at destinations that are more exciting than I could have ever imagined.

What do you think? I would love to hear your experiences with ‘life’ road closures and the journeys that ensued.  Comment to this post or send me an email: keilenberg@lodestonelogic.com!


Hoosier Healthcare Innovation Challenge and the Hoosier Code 4 Health

Lodestone Logic is excited to sponsor and support several exciting events focused on driving innovation in healthcare.

First, this year’s Hoosier Healthcare Innovation Challenge is being held on July 12th from 8 AM to 5 PM in Hine Hall on the campus of IUPUI.  This event is intended to bring together healthcare and technology professionals and organizations from around the state to identify and develop solutions to solve for some of today’s most challenging healthcare issues.

During the daylong event, time will be dedicated to allow participants to discuss the challenges with the organizations that are hosted them.  Lodestone Logic is proud to sponsor and coordinate this year’s Match Up Lounge so that participants will be able to connect with each other to form teams to tackle the challenges.  The day will wrap up with several education and discussion sessions about topics like the potential impact of wearable devices and sensors to transforming healthcare.

Second, the first ever Hoosier Code 4 Health will be held on Saturday and Sunday, July 13th and 14th at Lilly’s COI Center in Indianapolis, Indiana.  This is a codeathon. So, the focus will be ‘mashing’ up data streams from different APIs and unlocking the potential of the data that has never been achieved previously. Codeathons typically are events that occur over the course of one or more days and bring together developers, designers, innovators and entrepreneurs. It is exciting to consider that this Hoosier Code 4 Health could potentially generate insights that could improve our understanding of co-morbid diseases OR surface tangible opportunities to create more efficient processes OR find out about human behavior factors that could be influenced to improve patient adherence and patient outcomes… the opportunities are endless!

The Launch Reception to kick off these events will be held on June 27th from 5 to 7 PM at The Speak Easy  and DeveloperTown. The challenges will be announced at this event.  Attendees with have an opportunity to learn more about the event, the Challenges as well as have the opportunity to network, form teams, and begin to discuss possible solutions.  Attendees will be able to enjoy Sun King beer while doing a quick dusty-boots tour of the future INFUSE Digital Health Accelerator. It’s going to be a great evening!

Participants may register for all of these events at http://www.hoosierchallenge.org/.

Attendees and those interested in watching the action from afar can use the Twitter hashtags #HHIC and #HC4H.

NCAA March Madness: Competing at the highest level

It’s NCAA Tournament time, also known as March Madness in the States. Fortunately, my Michigan State Spartans make it the Tourney more times than not.  And, I proudly wear my MSU collegiate gear for the duration. I love the energy, the drama, and the Cinderella teams – Go MSU and Florida Gulf Coast!

The reality is that whenever I watch competitive sports, I see an organization and a team doing whatever it takes to win. Day in and day out. They leave it all out of the court, field, ice, etc*… I could throw out all of the sports analogies, but I think that it’s obvious what I am trying to say. The teams that are showing up for the NCAA Tournament are competing at the highest level possible.

I’ve lived and survived in many different organizations throughout my career. Fortunately, due to my lack of athletic prowess, typical businesses do not physically battle it out on a field or court daily. However, with the sheer number of consistencies between the competitive aspects of sports and business, it’s easy to learn from sports and apply it directly to business.

Like sporting events, business organizations are competing with other businesses. Business leaders have varied resources at their disposal (eg capital, tools, and resources).  Statistics and past performance has a direct impact on which team members are put in the game versus sitting the bench. And, networks and relationships with colleagues positively impact a leader’s ability to navigate towards the goal; drive through the lane and simplify the steps required to get real work done. All of these things have a direct influence on a leaders ability to attract and recruit top talent that would further enhance specific assets and/or fill skill gaps of the team.

To that end, business organizations, like sports teams, should be constantly evaluating if they are competing at the highest level and are aiming to win. The perpetual annual cycles of strategic planning or talent assessment are no longer sufficient to win. Good coaches and business leaders are continuously evaluating and answering the following types of questions:

  • What does winning look like? Are we focused and shooting for the right nets/goal posts? How do we measure and quantify it?
  • Who are we competing against?
  • What are their strengths and weaknesses?
  • Do we have the right talent to play and win against our competitor(s)?
  • What is our team’s readiness level? Who’s playing which position?
  • What type of training needs to be conducted regularly to ensure preparedness to play and win? What type of specialized training needs to be available for unique skills and competencies?
  • What resources are available to care for essential needs of the team (e.g. supervisory staff, assistants, technology (PCs, phones, etc), etc.)?
  • Do we have enough of the right shots on goal to win? (TEASE: this will be a blog post on its own!)
  • Are we winning? If yes = celebrate! If no = why?

An organization’s competitiveness is truly based on the diligence they have in managing the timeliness and effectiveness of the assessments. They can happen in cycles over days, weeks, months, or in milli-seconds. Doing assessments are not about ticking the box and completing a task. Business competitiveness and winning lies in the decisions made and actions taken after each assessment is completed. When organizations commit to being this aware about themselves and others continuously, it truly is a winning proposition and delivers results!

Are you doing these kinds of assessments and evaluations? If so, what strategic questions should I have included?  If you think that you could be doing much more with regards to completing these types of assessments, touch base with us at Lodestone Logic and we will figure out a way to help you out!


* I have always been an enthusiastic fan of many different types of sports. However, sometimes my sports references are not always quite right. So, apologies for probably totally biffing and messing up on the sports metaphors and slang included in this blog post.

The Quest – Mapping Health Information

The following post describes the research and findings associated with the Indiana University Center for Law, Ethics, and Applied Research in Health Information Health Information Map.

Two years ago, my friend, Stan Crosley (@croshoops), approached me with a project for the Indiana University Center for Law, Ethics, and Applied Research in Health Information. His request was for Lodestone Logic to help them map where health information is collected, shared, used, and goes to die. Initially, I laughed at him because I believed that someone else had created such a map. I agreed to sign a contract. But I also told him that once I find that the map that already existed, that I’d move on.

That was two years ago. I can officially say that I’ve been schooled.

The initial phase of the project included reaching out to different parts of my network to find the existing map. Even though no one was able to produce a map for my reference, I persisted on my hunt. Finally, after approximately 3 months, I gave in and proclaimed that a map didn’t exist.

The next phase was to collect and filter the information that I had received during the previous months and determine an approach for constructing a map that could be used for policy level discussions. What I found interesting about this phase of the research was that many people had only defined ‘health information’ as the data that is collected and produced during care within a healthcare system or setting. What was missing was the recognition of all of the health data and information that is being produced by individuals, patients, and/or consumers as part of their daily lives – either through posts to FaceBook, tweets on Twitter, or text messages on their mobile phones. This was a significant disconnect then and continues to be not realized even today.

We then began to collect information from online entities. We created accounts and looked at the fields of data that they asked individuals to complete – among these many fields were name, address, zip code, diagnosis, and medical history. We noted whether or not these fields were mandatory or were optional at the point of data collection.  We also reviewed privacy policies. These policies gave us information about data that was being collected without the user needing to do anything – e.g. IP address, operating system, etc. The privacy policies also gave us insight to how the data was used, stored, and shared by that particular entity. Between the data fields required at sign up and the data collected by the entities, we quickly amassed 144 data attributes. We used these attributes in one-on-one interviews with stakeholders and representatives of other entities where this type of data was not freely available – e.g. MD offices and hospitals.

This part of the research was comparatively easy. Our interviewees were very cooperative and provided us information about the data that they collect in a typical interaction with patients in a care setting.

We quickly realized that 144 attributes was a challenging number to manage and represent in a data model. So, we invested time and energy in grouping and collecting specific attributes. We finally were able to create a list of 44 attributes. We worked with Jeb Banner (@jebbanner) and Smallbox to mock up an initial visualization that would aid users to select the entities and see where the attributes overlap. The final version of this table is here.

The next phase of the project was to determine where the data moved/flowed following initial data collection. We reached back out to our original entities and asked them for another interview. The responses that we received were unexpected. One-third of the time we were able to schedule an interview, one-third of the time there was no response, and the last one-third of the time was an  apology that they will not be able to provide that type of information to use.  I believe that these responses were based on a couple of factors –

  1. The entity felt that the flow of the data was proprietary and speaking to a researcher doing research that will be public was not in the company’s best interest
  2. The representative of the entity really didn’t know where the data flowed

With the data that we were able to collect, we embarked on the development of a visualization. This visualization would allow for the utilization of the initial data set AND expose the flow aspects. My original concept was called “Fireworks” and it included time elements.  My belief was that people need to know that the data that is collected lives on beyond the original point of capture. After shopping this idea around with several visualization folks, I realized that with the budget that we had, that it wasn’t possible.

HIMAP fireworks

However, after attending the Health 2.0 conference in September 2010, I found my visualization person in Damien Leri  (@damienleri) from Big Yellow Star.

Damien quickly educated us on many different off-the-shelf visualization tools and helped us structure our existing data so that he could quickly mock up examples. It was a huge leap forward for the project. We finally committed to the “sideways circus tent” design. With this design, we were able to show that all of the data originates from the patient, but what each entity does with it was uniquely different. If you click on the “color” option, viewers of the visualization are also able to see the individual data attributes that move; it’s bits and pieces and not comprehensive flows.

We continued to try to track down data flows, but realized that our progress was waning.

We were also coming to the realization that even though we had made significant progress in identifying where data is collected and where some of it moves to, we still hadn’t gotten to the ‘so what?’ So, we embarked on trying to capture the story of how the adoption of technology and progress of society has influenced health information to become more ubiquitous Health information moves not just in the health systems but publicly through non-HIPAA regulated entities.

To create the compare and contrast, we initiated a new method of research for the project. We established a standard set of questions based on the original 44 data attributes. We engaged in discussions and interviews with entities about their historical practices that took place versus how they practice currently in 2012. Oddly enough, our requests for interviews about the past with a specific patient case scenario as the frame for the interview re-opened doors and people were more willing to speak with us. These responses were collected and analyzed.

We also realized that the major shift in the ubiquity of health data is going to take place in the next decade.  That meant that we needed to create a heuristic model of the potential for health data collection and use it in the future. We leveraged our network of thought-leaders for insights and predictions. We tracked with futurists and their predictions. We collected our own insights based on current trends within consumer models that will bleed over into healthcare as the quantified self- movement grows and the consumerization of healthcare happens.

With this new data and information, it took us a few months to figure out how to structure the data for visualization to allow viewers to appreciate the storyline and differences. As we were working with Damien, we realized that it couldn’t be encapsulated in a single visualization. Instead, it needed to be multiple visualizations that allowed the viewer/user to choose each year 2002/2012/2022 and view them individually to see the difference. This allowed us to determine the best visualizations for the different aspects of the data that we wanted to highlight.

During the project, the environment for health data continued to rapidly evolve. Even though many aspects of our data were becoming outdated, we knew that we just had to finish and produce what we had learned. The entire project came to a natural close/end in the fall of 2012.

Our Learnings –

1. The definition of health data is messy. Many entities are collecting identifiable health data elements, but do not recognize or tag the data as such.

2. As the US moves to the Affordable Care Act and people are incented to manage care based off of outcomes not activities. There is a HUGE opportunity to combine health data streams and provide personalized care to an individual based on their whole self, not just what is shared with a Healthcare Practitioner in a 20-minute appointment.

3. Based on current day technologies, most people assume that their healthcare data is moving and available when they present themselves in a care setting. Yet, we found that there were health data silos that created islands of health data that are not connected to anything else. These islands exist in healthcare settings that are part of the same ‘system’ and even under the same roof, but the data isn’t connected. For example, we found a situation where the radiology lab at a hospital is outsourced to a contract vendor. This vendor is unable to connect to the hospital’s electronic health record to access the patient’s record. This created administrative work and increased the potential for error when re-connecting the radiology results to the patient record.

4. In general, individuals lack the knowledge about their health digital footprint and the information that is out in public. They are being used by entities to segment and target customers.  Last year, one of my employees emailed me to let me know she would not be in because her daughter had a suspected case of head lice.  When I opened the email in my Gmail account, I immediately saw an advertisement for a head lice prevention treatment.  Clearly, Google was using the text of her email to target an advertisement to me.  I found this amazing and I was really excited (and somewhat frightened) to see our research in action.


5. With the continued increase in the everyday utilization of mobile and sensor technologies, there will be volumes of data associated to individuals. It will be Orwellian, but if this information is integrated in an effective manner with genetic and other data sources. It will lead to a better understanding of diseases. This will generate relevant, innovative, and personalized solutions. Medication labels won’t need to be generalized warnings based on population statistics; they will identify specific things that relate to the individual that needs the medicine. N=1 is definitely on the horizon.

Finally, we are so honored that Stan and IU CLEAR chose us to help them with this research. We are mega fans for the work that they are doing and look forward to continuing to partner with them in the future.

Visit the HIMAP to see how all of these experiences led to the development of multiple visualizations that represent a high level model of where health data is captured, stored, used and shared. If you have any thoughts about this topic, please comment to this post or send me an email at keilenberg@lodestonelogic.com.

The Innovation Conundrum

Corporate America is searching for the single answer that will solve all of its woes with regards to innovation. Yet, there is an obvious internal blind spot when it comes to innovation.

Innovation and innovative assets already exist within these companies, but they are underutilized or untapped for their potential.  The asset is their own employees that are true intrapreneurs.

So, what is an intrapreneur? These are unique employees that have some of the following characteristics. They:

  1. Believe in the mission and cause of the company
  2. Make sense of complex things to develop strategic, yet very concrete ideas that will transform the way that the company is doing its business.
  3. Develop and nurture a robust network – both within the company and outside the company spanning to the direct competitors and other industries and sectors.
  4. Get things done.

There’s no doubt about it, based on these traits, intrapreneurs are management’s dream of the ideal employee. Yet, intrapreneurs are rarely leveraged to help transform the company.

Instead, intrapreneurs are usually recognized as the ‘problem children’ by management (and HR).


Typically intrapreneurs are the employees are difficult to manage because they have a bigger perspective about the business, which generates ideas, and suggestions about how to do things differently. They push their direct line management to initiate new projects and work that may be in direct conflict with the status quo. They are considered ‘cage rattlers’ and ‘boat rockers’ because sometimes they lack patience and tack. They like to be involved in ‘new’ things; if their direct line management denies their ideas and requests, they will still pursue them through other internal channels. Even though they are being recognized as delivering on the projects for other teams and functions, there are times when intrapreneurs struggle to do their ‘boring’ job responsibilities.

So, instead of intrapreneurs being recognized for their abilities, they are usually ‘coached’ to be like everyone else and do their written job description. If they continue to show their intrapreneur characteristics, the result is demotions, firings, or the decision to leave for another company where their intrapreneurial traits are encouraged and recognized in a positive manner (in many cases, it is to a direct competitor) .

It’s a serious conundrum. Intrapreneurs are the employees that are out on a ledge and are not accepting of the status quo. They are willing to take risks and initiate projects that they believe will create a more promising future for the company. But, because most organizations struggle with innovation and change, the intrapreneurs create internal friction. So, companies and organizations that want to be innovative NEED these employees to do what they do. The challenge is to identify these intrapreneurs, channel their energy, drive for tangible results, and recognize them for the contributions that they make.

As many people know, I wholeheartedly believe that intrapreneurs are the key to true transformation of the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries. As such, I am an advocated for intrapreneurs and have invested time researching and learning about this particular employee population.

If you want to learn more about the intrapreneur research, findings, and detailed profiles, then check out the e-book, The Business Intrapreneur: Unsung Heroes of Corporate America (http://www.ebookit.com/books/0000001789/The-Business-Intrapreneur-Profiles-of-Unsung-Heroes-of-Corporate-America.html?LLblogpost ), add a comment to this blog post, or send me an email: keilenberg@lodestonelogic.com.

Pharma: Putting up prize money to solve tough healthcare problems

The pharmaceutical industry gets a bad rap for many different things, but recently there’s been some good recognition of their interests in spawning healthcare innovation and transformation through the sponsorship of ‘challenges’.

Holding challenges to solve tough problems is not generally a new concept; think Xprize for figuring out how to get into space in a cheaper, more cost effective way or improve test scores of elementary aged children. Almost a decade ago, eLilly launched Innocentive (www.innocentive.com) to put out bounties to surface unique resources and the world’s brains to solve difficult problems in everything from bio-chemical synthesis, engineering, or fragrance development. The US government has even launched their own website for multiple types of challenges at www.challenge.gov. You don’t have to read Daniel Pink to know that if there’s a reward or financial incentive, more people will invest their own time and energy to create a solution and try for the prize.

So, it is really encouraging to see specific pharmaceutical companies use challenges as a way to reach out to the public and make some great things happen. What makes this so interesting is that the relationship between the pharmaceutical industry and other healthcare stakeholders is very symbiotic. Yet, in many cases we fail to see that the opportunity to bring together all of the stakeholders in the healthcare ecosystem to find solutions that will benefit everyone in the room.

In the challenge arena, with over $1M in prize money committed in 2012, Sanofi and Janssen are the pharmaceutical thought leaders.



US Data Design Diabetes Innovation Competition

Website: http://www.datadesigndiabetes.com

Prize money: over $200,000

Description: The focus of this challenge was to use data to create a human-centered and data-inspired innovation for any single or multiple stakeholders in the diabetes ecosystem.

Winner: n4a Diabetes Care Center

Collaborate Activate

Website: www.collaborateactivate.com

Prize money: $500,000

Description: This challenge was focused on bringing together multiple teams or patient advocacy organizations to develop solutions that will encourage people to engage in their health and wellbeing. An interesting facet of this challenge was that the teams and solutions had to be connected to a fully registered non-profit organization. The intent was to further cross-pollinate ideas and energy to develop solutions that will be sustainable.

Winner: 4 finalists have been selected, winner announced in mid-November, 2012


Janssen Healthcare Innovation Group

Connected Care Challenge

Co-Sponsor(s): National Transitions of Care Coalition (NTOCC)

Website: http://www.multivu.com/mnr/56342-discharge-decision-support-system-janssen-connected-care-challenge

Prize money: $250,000

Description: Consistent with HHS’s triple aim goals, the focus of this challenge was to improve transitions from the hospital to the home and to reduce overall re-admission rates.

Winner: RightCare Solutions, Inc., D2S2 software system


Alzheimer’s Challenge 2012

Co-sponsor(s): Pfizer, Geoffrey Beene Gives Back® Alzheimer’s Initiative

Website: https://www.alzheimerschallenge2012.com/announcements/announcements.php

Prize money: $175,000

Description: To develop a simple, cost-effective tool that will allow for easy assessment and/or diagnosis of an Alzheimer’s patient’s status with regards to memory, mood, thinking, and activity level over time.

Winner: Team Ginger.io, Ginger.io Behavioral Analytics Platform


Many people will question the true motivation behind a pharmaceutical company sponsoring these types of competitions. However, if one were to really look at each of the challenges, the true return on the investment (ROI) will be recognized beyond any one pharmaceutical company; instead, when one of these solutions is scaled and implemented, then patients will experience the ROI through better care, information, and outcomes.  What’s so wrong with that?