A Doctor’s Prescription for Organizational Success

Yesterday I had the honor of hearing Dr. Frank Douglas, the director of Austen BioInnovation Institute, an unprecedented collaboration joining four competing hospitals, a local university, and government officials to create a new medical-innovation research center focused on polymers, wound care, and orthopedics.  Douglas is a natural leader and genius in organizational development, formerly the founder and executive director of MIT’s Center of Biomedical Innovation.

As Douglas talked about the progress in forming the first foundations to the research center, some keys to his past and present success surfaced:

Shared Vision: The key in getting five different organizations to collaborate towards a common goal is in their owned and shared vision at all levels.  As Douglas unsuccessfully sought to create such a collaboration previously in Boston, Akron’s unique partnership was so special, he had to join the party and deepen their mutuality in mission.

Strategic Decision Making: Douglas is fanatical about ensuring every idea and action within this project is sifted through the strategy, which in turns flows directly from the shared vision.  To help ensure that all five organizations stay strategically sound and collaboratively serve the agreed upon vision, he has a specific criteria:  1) Will it contribute to making ABIA distinct? 2) Will it enable ABIA to generate intellectual property and move towards commercialization? As ABIA desires to be the primere location for orthopedics and wound care, these two questions are relentlessly used to create an elegant and strategic filter.  If an idea or plan doesn’t answer “yes” to one of these questions, then they don’t do it.

Legacy: Another factor that drew Douglas to lead this project was legacy.  He wants to live his life that will make an impact, leaving a distinguished and noticeable mark in bettering the quality of life for the next generation.

To see Douglas’ slides and strategic plan, click HERE

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~ by Dave Smith on October 22, 2009.

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