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  • A review of “Innovation Fitness: Compete for the Future” by Ideascale

A review of “Innovation Fitness: Compete for the Future” by Ideascale

Innovation Fitness
By Kevin Howard

Fitness can mean more than bench-pressing 150 pounds or running a mile in record time. Private practice owners, and business owners in general, need to be aware of a different kind of fitness measure for their business: innovation fitness.

The white paper “Innovation Fitness: Compete for the Future” by Ideascale dives deep on the concept of innovation fitness for business leaders, helping them maintain the edge that leads to a competitive advantage.


Innovation fitness has many organizational benefits that can help your private practice become a healthier, more productive, and more profitable business. A business that is innovatively fit practices the following:

  • Assesses strengths and weaknesses. You list what areas are impacting your practice in positive and negative ways and take action to correct them.
  • Maintains focus. You identify and hone in on specific activities that will improve innovation projects, elevating their quality and enabling you to complete projects efficiently.
  • Establishes a clear vision. You set a clear vision to provide a high-level, birds-eye view of what your innovation goals and processes are, and you stick to them.
  • Makes plans to innovate. You create targeted plans for enhancing your existing ability to innovate and add new innovation processes to your company.
  • Generates buy-in. You enthusiastically communicate your vision and engage others in the journey to achieving your goals.
  • Tracks progress. You track innovation progress and make sure you’re consistently working toward your goals.

These behaviors sharpen your practice’s ability to innovate, helping your practice to become more innovatively fit and competitive now and in the future.


According to the white paper, organizational fitness is a primary area of innovation fitness comprising several components to assess your private practice and achieve a better understanding of the factors affecting your ability to innovate. These components include:

  • An open culture. An open culture is essential to innovation because it’s an indicator that your practice is open to change. Encourage everyone in your practice to understand the benefits of change. Explain how the change benefits not only the organization, but how it impacts every stakeholder.
  • Innovative leadership. Consider whether your leadership culture really supports innovation. Clearly communicate expectations about innovation to managers and other leaders within the practice. Appoint staff to serve as ambassadors for innovation programs to encourage and support innovation at all levels.
  • Employee engagement. Engaged employees are more likely to buy-in to innovation and support innovative change. To increase engagement around innovation, create annual goals related to innovation projects and introduce incentives and rewards for innovative behavior, such as employee recognition or a special day off.
  • Accountability. Both leaders and team members must be held accountable for specific innovation goals in order for positive change to occur. To create accountability, share high-level goals and strategy with employees at every level; link innovation to performance reviews, bonuses, and career development; and track assignments and their progress so you can support them.

A slow approach to implementing these initiatives is recommended to work your way toward elevating your organizational fitness.


After evaluating your organizational fitness, the next step to becoming more innovatively fit is evaluating the readiness of your innovation program.

The white paper advises practice owners to ask 10 questions about their innovation programs. Answer with a yes or no:

  • Do you have an existing innovation project or imitative?
  • Do you know what problems need to be investigated or improved?
  • Do you have a timeframe for launching your innovation project?
  • Do you have a budget for the needed software, team, implementation, and funding? Is it included in departmental budgets or a separate innovation budget?
  • Have you defined your desired outcome or goals?
  • Have you defined your innovation process and workflow?
  • Have you created an idea or proposal submission process?
  • Do you have a communication plan for your innovation projects?
  • Do you know how you will evaluate the success of your project?
  • Do your metrics reflect both earning and learning?

If you have five or fewer “yes” answers, your innovation program isn’t ready to launch. If you have six or seven, your program needs more planning before it is ready to fully deploy. Seven or eight “yes” answers indicates that your program is nearly ready for launch, while nine or 10 “yes” answers indicate that your program is likely ready to launch. Any questions with “no” answers should be added to your innovation to-do list.

This quick assessment helps practice owners evaluate the strength of their innovation programs and identify areas of potential weakness. Being aware of these areas of weakness and addressing them in addition to building a strong innovation program further builds a practice’s innovation fitness and helps practices remain competitive in the future. 

Kevin Howard

Kevin Howard is a staff writer for PPS based in Mount Laurel, New Jersey. He may be reached at kahoward@ahint.com.

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