A chance to turn my idea into reality, part deux

Okay, where were we? Ah, yes! I confirmed with myself and the world that there might be something to the crazy ideas I come up with. Five Mission Partners, including me, were chosen to build out our ideas on ways that could support people in their homes and communities as part of the first of its kind Trailblazer Challenge at OSF HealthCare. So, what exactly does it mean to build out an idea?

I was hoping it meant I get to tell someone smarter than me about my idea and then they would make it happen. Nope. Instead, all of us idea generators were asked to assemble teams of five and take part in a two-day Innovation Sprint where we would design things called value propositions (heh?!), create business models (Suuure, I do this ALL THE TIME) and pitch to scary people in suits!

No worries, guys. We had mentors on hand from OSF HealthCare partner, MATTER out of Chicago, a health care startup incubator, as well as our very own Office of Innovation Management, Performance Improvement, Healthcare Analytics and Partnerships groups.

The winners of this round would get the coveted opportunity to go to MATTER for two days and work with high profile entrepreneurs with experience in everything from strategy consulting to driving growth in established innovative businesses and startups. I officially felt fancy.

Tell me more about this value proposition business

So, here’s the thing. You can have all of the wonderful ideas in the world, but if no one wants what you are selling — you and your idea are headed for disaster. The point of the two-day Sprint was to bring our teams together for the first time and ensure we were developing a product that adds value for the people we want to serve. This is done by identifying potential customers and getting a better understanding of their pains and gains related to achieving a certain job.

Put into practice, if I want to develop something that helps prevent people from developing a chronic disease such as diabetes (job-to-be-done) — my solution has to eliminate the barriers keeping individuals from meeting this goal in the first place (pains). This could be anything from addressing concerns of not knowing where to begin to lack of motivation.

My idea also has to fulfill a need, include benefits an individual expects or might not have considered before and be better or different than similar solutions on the market (gains). Maybe that includes overall personalization, mobile functionality, a health coach or incentives tied to goals achieved.

Taking all of this information into consideration helps us, as innovators, home in on value propositions that make consumers understand why they should choose our products as opposed to the competition to meet their needs.

“I learned so much about Value Propositions in a very short time-frame,” said Carissa Dodwell, Performance Improve Specialist and lead for OSF Zumir, a project to develop on-demand transportation for patients. “The tools we were given helped me and my team get our ideas down on paper and categorize them into our different customer segments.”

Value Propositions. Check! We were done then, right? NOPE. That was just the first part of the first day. There was still much fun to be had with creating a business model, which included figuring out the key resources, partners, activities, channels, revenue models and costs associated with our ideas. The next day, we learned how to develop compelling stories around our concepts and more about the work fellow teams had put into their ideas. We also gave each other constructive feedback to fuel the design of our final pitches.

“I have participated in sprints prior to the Innovation Sprint and I think these two days were very beneficial,” said Ellen Chaney, Innovation Coordinator with the Office of Innovation Management and lead on the project to partner with home health agencies to decrease emergency room visits. “The collaboration between each individual Trailblazer team was incredible to watch. The hands-on portions of the day really helped get Mission Partners participating, as well as connecting and building the teams as a whole.”

Pitch day! 

Day two was the big day to determine if we were able to effectively take everything we learned and apply it to make the best pitches possible. There were no PowerPoint presentations to be found. To level the playing field, we all received one poster-sized piece of paper where we were encouraged to map out our stories using whatever creative skills we had at our disposal.

From there, we used our sketches to layout our five-minute pitches to a crowd of leaders as well as our fellow Mission Partners throughout OSF Innovation. I was personally blown away by all of the work our teams were able to achieve in two days. I honestly did not know who would get to move on to the final round of the Trailblazer Challenge.

After a week, we received the results. Three teams were selected to travel to Chicago and work with mentors from MATTER to further build out their value propositions and get the tools needed to build a final pitch to OSF HealthCare leaders in December. Guess what, guys?! My team was one of the finalists along with the groups led by Ellen Chaney and Carissa Dodwell (see their ideas here)!

WOW… is all I have to say for now.

Subscribe to the OSF HealthCare blog to find out more about our experience at MATTER, what came next and what will happen following our final pitches to leaders!

Last Updated: January 28, 2020

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About Author: Denise Molina-Weiger

Denise Molina-Weiger is a Writing Coordinator for OSF HealthCare, where she has worked since March 2015. She initially came to OSF to write about the work taking place at the Jump Trading Simulation & Education Center, one of the world’s largest simulation and innovation centers and went on to become the Media Relations Coordinator for OSF Innovation which was developed to help the hospital system lead the way in transforming care.

Before joining the OSF HealthCare team, Denise was a reporter for Peoria Public Radio for ten years, writing on everything from politics, housing and transportation issues to hospital care in the region. She earned her bachelor’s degree in radio broadcasting from Western Illinois University in 2003 and received her master’s degree in public affairs reporting from the University of Illinois at Springfield in 2004.

Denise lives in West Peoria with her husband, son and two crazy dogs. In her spare time, she likes to snuggle on the couch with her family and watch cooking shows on Netflix. She loves taking road trips with her family and then complaining about it when they are over.

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Categories: Innovation, Working at OSF