Innovation In Surgical Procedures

November 25, 2013

Note: This posting is based on my weekly “Thank God It’s Monday” that helps you and your company thrive!

This week’s focus: innovation

Aortic heart valve replacement surgery is a big deal. But, today, it isn’t the ordeal it was several years ago.

Today, a surgeon makes a 2-inch incision, carves a small groove in the rib cage, and, with the use of surgical robotics, replaces the aortic valve in a 90-minute procedure. It wasn’t very many years ago that the patient would undergo a much more invasive procedure 2-3 times as long to deliver the same result. The patient would need to opened from neck to navel, have their ribs cracked open, etc.

What is the outcome of these innovations?

  • Shorter recovery time,
  • Less cost,
  • Less time in the hospital,
  • Less time under anesthesia,
  • Less time on a heart bypass machine, etc.

John Fox, the coach of the Denver Broncos, was home within 5 days after having had this surgery.

I would offer that, for major procedures like this, 10 years is about the time required to evolve a quantum improvement in a procedure. This is really great news for people whose need comes a few years after someone else.

Does this give any of you non-medical innovators any ideas? How can you evolve your products and services in a manner comparable to the medical innovators?

Thought for the week:

“When you strip down your brilliance to the foundation, you can find new places to play. The key: build a bridge between what you know and how that knowledge can be used. Go past the common uses — too many bridges there. Go into uncharted territory and see where you land.”  – Vickie Sullivan, vickiesullivan.com

A Recent Blog Post That May Interest You

My Story: The JFK Assassination

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What do you think? I welcome your comments!
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Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2013 Gardner & Associates Consulting  All Rights Reserved

Note:  To receive an email version of “Thank God It’s Monday” to start your week, please subscribe here.  I would very much appreciate your suggesting to others that they subscribe.

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My Story: The JFK Assassination

November 23, 2013

On November 22, 2013, we marked the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy’s assassination. This is the biggest event in my lifetime. Nothing stands above it. Not 9/11. Not the Challenger explosion. Nothing. I was in the sixth grade attending L.C. Curtis Junior High School in Santa Clara, California, when President Kennedy was assassinated. My teacher, Mrs. Ruth Chapin, the teacher I shared this historic moment with, turned out to be one of my favorite teachers in my life. Here’s my story. There will undoubtedly be thousands of stories like mine that will be written this year.

The Principal of the school came over the public address system about 11 a.m. Pacific time to announce that President Kennedy had been shot. Mrs. Chapin heard it at the same moment we did. She looked scared. That was really concerning to me. This was big…really big.

In 1963, there was no cable TV, there was no Internet. News unfolded a bit more slowly than it does today. About forty minutes later, we heard another public address system announcement that President Kennedy was dead. We were to leave our classrooms and go to lunch. I’m sure as much as anything, the Principal wanted to get the faculty into the teacher’s lounge so they could hug, cry, and figure out what to do. You could see the deep concern and distress in the faces and eyes of the faculty members who couldn’t retreat to the faculty lounge.

My schoolmates and I were rattled—it was even more concerning to us that the faculty were as rattled by the news as they were. Your teachers were supposed to be above anything that could go wrong—they were our bedrock. Or, so we thought. Oh, how naïve we were that day.

After lunch, we were sent to the playground. I remember discussing with my friends the kind of horror we wanted to inflict on the person responsible for killing the President. We were miniature “Dick Cheney’s” that day—nothing we could do to the assassin would be extreme enough. I’ll spare you the gore.

I’m not sure what time my mother picked up my sister, Deborah, and younger brother, Brian, and me from school that day. I seem to remember we stayed at school until the normal school day ended.

I’m pretty sure we had to go to a place to get my mother’s hair done that Friday afternoon—it’s what we did every Friday. My mother got her hair put into a French twist each and every week. It prepped her for her weekend of playing the 36-rank pipe organ at our church: Junior Choir practice on Saturday morning, practice for church the next day, and 2 church services on Sunday. This was our routine. The pipe organ was a grand instrument; my mother was an extremely accomplished church organist.

That day—and for a number of days and weeks afterward—I didn’t like the idea of having a glass window behind me in the car or the house. It seemed to me that what happened to President Kennedy could happen to me. I don’t believe I ever mentioned it to my parents or friends. But, I was very uneasy with having a glass window behind me for any reason.

This particular Friday evening, my mother and father had plans to go out, a rarity. There was a 15th anniversary event marking my dad’s graduation from Stanford University. My parents were to travel to San Francisco for the evening. I was not happy about this though I don’t believe I let them know how upset I was about their plans that evening. I was scared.

My world had been rocked by the assassination and I didn’t want to be left with my grandmother that night. My grandmother spent the evening pretty much sequestered from us in her room watching TV while I stayed glued to the TV in the family room watching all the news. I didn’t like that the window behind the kitchen table was behind me but it was the only way I could watch the TV based on its positioning in the house.

For four days, I stayed glued to the TV. There wasn’t one detail that I wanted to miss. I did miss out on Oswald’s slaying by Jack Ruby on live TV on Sunday—my family was at church. We learned of Oswald’s death as we were leaving church. We were stunned at this news. This further fueled the idea of a conspiracy.

This was the first time ever that TV news offered round-the-clock coverage about a story. That, in and of itself, was history in the making. I remember like it was yesterday the images of Parkland Memorial Hospital, Lee Harvey Oswald who was paraded in front of the camera and proclaimed his innocence, Walter Cronkite and many other news anchors who learned on the spot how to fill hours of TV time. I saw:

  • The blood on Jackie Kennedy’s clothing
  • President Kennedy’s personal belongings removed from the White House—especially his rocking chair
  • His casket in the White House on Saturday
  • His casket being taken in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda on Sunday
  • His son, John Jr., saluting his casket as it was removed from the U.S. Capitol Rotunda
  • Jacqueline Kennedy’s charm and grace during the event as it occurred with the whole world watching
  • Emperor Haile Selasse from Ethiopia—a very short man wearing a military uniform covered in medals—walking in the funeral procession to Arlington National Cemetery
  • The Riderless Horse with a rider’s boots facing backward in the saddle
  • The lighting of the Eternal Flame at Arlington
  • The heads of state from all over the world who attended the funeral signaled what a monumental event had occurred
  • The sound of the muffled drums
  • Taps played after President Kennedy’s burial

I became a news hound as a result of this event. My parents bought me books that captured the details from JFK’s travels to Dallas, the assassination and the state funeral four days later. About 1992, I went to Dealey Plaza and saw with my own eyes how small an area it really was. This further fueled my thoughts that the assassination had to be part of a conspiracy and more than one man had to be involved.

Why do the majority of Americans to this day believe there was a conspiracy to assassinate President Kennedy? The answer is simple: it just seems completely improbable that one man—Oswald—was capable of pulling this off by himself. It is hard to believe that Oswald’s death wasn’t part of a larger conspiracy. Yet, after 50 years, the majority of Americans feel that there was indeed a conspriracy.

The passing of such a young, inspirational president was horrifying. I’ll never forget what it felt like to suffer a loss. Years later when Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated on November 4, 1995, in Israel. I immediately understood what the people and the youth of Israel were going through. I’m grateful we’ve not had to face another presidential assassination in my lifetime. I hope I never do.

Dave Gardner

© 2013 Dave Gardner

Ending Hostile Work Enviornments

November 11, 2013

Note: This posting is based on my weekly “Thank God It’s Monday” that helps you and your company thrive!

This week’s focus: hostile work environments

The issue facing the Miami Dolphins over Richie Incognito and his abuse of teammate Jonathan Martin is a clear case of a hostile work environment. Of course, there are some on the team who would offer that Jonathan Martin should just “man up.” I argue Jonathan Martin “manned up” when he raised the issue publicly. I applaud his courage.

A few months ago, I heard from a very credible person that he and others left a Fortune 50 company due to a hostile work environment. He can’t believe how happy he is now that he is out of harm’s way. My niece suffered similarly in the health care industry. She has moved on to a new opportunity and is doing exceedingly well there.

The U.S. Senate passed the ENDA, The Employment Non-Discrimination Act, legislation proposed in the United States Congress that would prohibit discrimination in hiring and employment on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity by employers with at least 15 employees. The Republican-led House of Representatives may never allow this legislation to come to a vote.

The 21st century needs to be about eliminating hostile work environments. If we can just get the Republican-led House of Representatives to join the effort to support ENDA legislation, we’ll be moving towards this important goal.

Thought for the week:

For some, this Monday is a 3-day holiday weekend commemorating Veteran’s Day. It’s a great time to offer thanks to all who have served our great country.  Where might we be today if it weren’t for their service?
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What do you think? I welcome your comments!
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Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2013 Gardner & Associates Consulting  All Rights Reserved

Note:  To receive an email version of “Thank God It’s Monday” to start your week, please subscribe here.  I would very much appreciate your suggesting to others that they subscribe.

Privacy Statement:  Our subscriber lists are never rented, sold, or loaned to any other parties for any reason.

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The Why of Enterprise Applications

November 4, 2013

Note: This posting is based on my weekly “Thank God It’s Monday” that helps you and your company thrive!

This week’s focus: enterprise applications

How much value can be derived from an enterprise application? By value, I mean:

  • Simplify an on-going business challenge
  • Enable and facilitate collaboration
  • Reduce friction and latency in achieving desired business outcomes

A very public example of a failure is the federal government’s Obamacare website. It failed on all the metrics above. The other night, I heard a story on the radio about how the federal government has a very high percentage of applications costing $10 million or more failing to deliver value. That has to be 90%+ of IT projects!

What’s at the root of this?

  • Unclear vision for the application
  • Inability to manage scope
  • Pieces of the solution created independently don’t integrate well
  • Business teams don’t know how to communicate with developers; developers don’t know how to communicate with business teams
  • People responsible for project oversight lack experience and expertise to lead such efforts and detect possible problems–they are too trusting and don’t have the capability to verify that things are on track.
  • Development delays undermine testing before go-live and the roll-out to stakeholders who need the system

One of my favorite quotes comes from the Dalai Lama: “When you lose, don’t lose the lesson.” Sadly, the federal government seems not to see losses as an opportunity to learn.

Applications are deployed for the people who will use the application day in and day out. If the application doesn’t work well for them, the application doesn’t deliver value. It’s that simple.

Thought for the week:

“The project you are most resisting carries your greatest growth.” – Robin Sharma
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What do you think? I welcome your comments!
___

Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2013 Gardner & Associates Consulting  All Rights Reserved

Note:  To receive an email version of “Thank God It’s Monday” to start your week, please subscribe here.  I would very much appreciate your suggesting to others that they subscribe.

Privacy Statement:  Our subscriber lists are never rented, sold, or loaned to any other parties for any reason.

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