Disruptors of the decade – not the time for health care

by Hans on 2010/01/15

A recent blog post by Scott Anthony reported the results of a poll he ran to identify the “disruptors of the decade”. The results weren’t that surprising in terms of naming the companies from the technology and “emerging” categories. What was surprising to me were the companies in the established non high-technology companies category: Wal-Mart, Verizon, Dow Corning, General Electric, Goldman Sachs (?!), and Ford.

My initial thoughts as I read this post was “what about health care?”. Then, Anthony ends the post with a prediction about where the next disruptive titans will be. One of the categories was “health care, education, or cleantech”. Anthony states that “these three industries are screaming for disruptive innovation, and the innovators that deliver the disruptive goods are well position to create massive success stories”.

Part of the challenge with health care is how regulated this field is. As pointed out in Chrstensen’s book “Seeing what’s next: Using theories of innovation to predict industry change“, disruptive innovation is more challenging to take root in industries with high levels of regulation or legislative interference. In Canada, there is an unspoken rule that seems to discourage experimentation and as a result, innovation is stifled. Given how the US is mired in intense health care reform efforts, I don’t see much difference in the US.

I plan to follow-up on this with an updated list of potential disruptive innovations in health care. A few years ago, I wrote a series of posts on disruptive technologies in health care. I think it is time to revisit this issue and focus more on innovation rather than technologies.

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