Friday, April 27, 2012

My One Day Email Experiment

Email has vexed me for the last several years.  It has transformed from being a useful communication tool to a corporate crutch - it seems that an ever-growing percentage of my emails are of the cover-my-ass variety.  [If that's unclear, what I mean is this: "Just to be sure nobody can say later that I didn't tell them about something, I'm going to tell everybody about it RIGHT NOW."]

So when I read this article in the Harvard Business Review (Coping with Email Overload by Peter Bregman), I decided to give his experiment a try.  The gist of this experiment is this:
  • We allow email to distract us from work we don't want to do (GUILTY)
  • We can be MUCH more efficient if we timebox our email.
SO … I am conducting a one-day experiment with my email [I will extend and tweak it as long as it works].  Here's how I'm doing my email:

I'll check it three times during my work day; morning, noon, and last thing before I leave.  More importantly, I will spend exactly 15 minutes in it each time.  No more, no less.  Peter spends 30 minutes at each interval if memory serves; I am going to start with 15 with a recognition that I may need to go up 5, 10 or 15 more minutes to cover my email volume.

Another interesting note here: I'm putting it on my calendar.  At a certain time.  If I "miss my meeting" with email, I miss it.  That's the way it's going to be during this disciplined experiment.  What this also means is that in order to do my last email-check before I leave, I am scheduling the time I leave the office.  That's something I NEVER do, but hey, for a one-day experiment I figure I can give it a shot.

Who wants to try it with me?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Innovating your Business Model - The Business Model Innovation Factory

When I was leaving Humana in 2010, I was lucky enough to have a lot of opportunities to engage the next phase of my career.  And though I didn't really plan it this way, business models wound up playing an important role in my decision.  What's that mean?

I'd spent the last several years working in Humana's innovation center, and focusing all of my efforts on creating new products, services and business models related to health as opposed to health insurance.  I was also seeing, on a daily basis, how social media was beginning to upend traditional business models (music, movies and publishing just to name a few).  And what it clued me into was that we haven't seen the last of business model upheaval.  There are going to be new business models emerging that we'd never imagined (Apple is making phones?) ... and I wanted to work for a company that had the foresight, courage and "organizational agility" to be able to spot and leverage opportunities to innovate their business model.  I definitely wasn't wrong (see WCG's recent announcements for just a tiny taste of what's ahead).

It's not necessarily easy to quantify what qualities, or through what processes, businesses can reinvent themselves.  That's one of the reasons that I think it's really cool that Saul Kaplan of the Business Innovation Factory has published a new book on exactly that.  The Business Model Innovation Factory is a book that helps companies to spot the signs of emerging business threats and opportunities - and more importantly, helps them to think through all of the massive change management that can be required to leverage them.

Saul and his team at the Business Innovation Factory have been thought leaders in this space for years, and have hosted (in my opinion) the best innovation conference in the world (BIF) since 2005.  You can learn more about this year's conference (BIF8) here; and for a little extra "eye candy" you can take a peek at my own BIF presentation from WAY BACK in 2009.

If you're in a business that seems to be surrounded by threats - or opportunities - to upend your business model and start something new, I encourage you to take a look at The Business Model Innovation Factory - I've no doubt that it'll set you on a good path to take advantage of your intuition and insight.

Note: I'm not getting anything in return for writing this piece, nor was I asked to do so ... I just have tremendous respect for Saul and his work - and believe in the value of what he's created here.

Play: For the Health of It. CrumpleItUp Redux

CrumpleItUp Redux is a series of repostings from the lamentably lost ... the insurance industry's first blog, and one of the first blogs anywhere devoted to health innovation.  For more background, check out Remembering

The first post from my friend Paul Puopolo - an unsung revolutionary in the world of Games for Health. Paul is still at it - he's now the VP of Innovation at Highmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield.  This piece was originally published on December 18, 2008.

Play: For the Health of it!

Having just finished watching my daughter’s basketball practice, we got into the car and headed home. Not too long after we departed the parking lot, we started talking about practice (a typical coaching opportunity) but during our discussion my daughter broke out her Nintendo DS and began playing one of the titles in her “library” while simultaneously responding to my tips on how to best take the ball down the court.  I had to laugh a little. Here was my daughter, having just engaged in 60 minutes of physical activity yet enjoying her video game just as much. Two types of  play but in her eyes it was just fun.
Obesity rates in the U.S. are at an all time high, particularly for kids under 18 years old. No need to quote themhere. Not to get into a socio-economic debate but there are a variety of reasons that contribute to these numbers (Changes in our community and work environments and apparently the popularity of game technology are just a few).
An interesting article We’ll Get Fit if It’s Fun, based on a research study in England, states that 9 out of 10 kids want to play video games at the same time they exercise. Why? To reduce the boredom!  Is it odd that kids today find exercise boring? If you ever climbed on a treadmill, rode a stationary bike or slung some dumbbells, this should be no  surprise. When we launched the Horsepower Challenge – a pedometer based online game with 5 schools in Louisville, kids told us a similar story.  You can check it out on
Game technology provides us a unique opportunity to motivate all generations to improve their health. But more importantly, to have fun doing so.
According to a recent Pew Internet Report over 53% of adults play video games. Are these the gamers like myself who grew up on Atari, with geometric shaped Space Invaders and Pac Man and now have kids who are avid gamers? Probably. But they are also moms who have taken on casual PC games and who Nintendo has captured with the Wii. Even seniors are increasingly getting into the “game”.
Video games provide us the ability to approach health differently. There is no reason that health has to be boring and monotonous. Our job is to focus on what's fun and make it healthy - not the reverse.
I don’t think my daughter is going to stop playing video games anytime soon (if her older siblings are any indication). But I don’t think she is going to stop playing hoops either.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

To EMR I say TTTTHPBT - CrumpleItUp Redux

CrumpleItUp Redux is a series of repostings from the lamentably lost ... the insurance industry's first blog, and one of the first blogs anywhere devoted to health innovation.  For more background, check out Remembering

This little gem was originally posted by my friend Gill Potter on December 16, 2008.  If I'm not mistaken, it was not only his first blog post on CrumpleItUp; it was his first blog post period.


A couple months ago I went to the Health 2.0 conference in San Francisco.  While I generally find these sorts of events to be worth only the new technologies you find, I was particularly disappointed by the presentations and the tone of the event.  Generally web 2.0 is acknowledged to be a collection of technologies that turn consumers into producers and connect people for conversation.  The conference was really just a compilation of electronic medical records companies and web enabled medical tracking in some form.
While I suppose electronic medical records will potentially result in some phantom savings, they are hardly anything that should be considered Web 2.0.  So far, my favorite example of Web 2.0 and health is Crossfit, a community of niche fitness aficionados.  This  is a great example of communicating, sharing and pushing each person to newer and higher goals.  Affiliates and members post videos of exercises, of personal records and different methods for laddering to higher results.
Interestingly they have made community a part of their business model.  Not only are there companion sites, is an example, but to be an affiliated gym you need not only certified trainers, but you also need to have a community website.  So, as Crossfit grows, so does their online community.
Take a look.  This is the sort of stuff that is health 2.0, not an EMR.

Monday, April 16, 2012

On the power of Twitter - an Anecdote. CrumpleItUp Redux

CrumpleItUp Redux is a series of repostings from the lamentably lost ... the insurance industry's first blog, and one of the first blogs anywhere devoted to health innovation.  For more background, check out Remembering

This was originally posted on December 8, 2008 - shortly after I spoke at the World Health Innovation and Technology Congress (along with notables like George Halvorsen and Newt Gingrich, no less!).

On the power of Twitter - A Social Media Anecdote

Newt Gingrich at WHITC08I woke up yesterday to a really pleasant surprise. A healthcare entrepreneur named John Moore had written a blog post about us. And it wasn’t just the blog post that tickled me; it was the way it came about.
 John specializes in Healthcare IT, and was hoping to find some updates about what was happening at the World Health Innovation and Technology Congress (where I spoke earlier this week). It so happens that I had helped the conference organizers to establish a hashtag for the conference (#whitc08), so John was able to tap into the 8 or 9 people who were live-microblogging the conference on Twitter
[Side Note: I was thrilled that so many people were using the hashtag; it got NO publicity except for a paper sign on the registration table . . . yet a whole bunch of people got to follow the conference as a result . . . and I had a way to directly connect with these people who shared a common interest and experience. Very cool.]
Anyway, as John was “watching” the conference unfold through this set of twitter feeds, he got curious about the Innovation Center, and managed to find this web site ( Between the responses to my presentation and the info he found on, he wound up thinking that we were blog-worthy, so he wrote this post [Humana Breaks the Mold] on
As a newbie in the social media space, I am still amazed that things like this happen, but they do – all the time.  So if you haven’t started twittering yet, give it a try . . . and by the way, you can now follow CrumpleItUp on twitter too –follow us at