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Running Before You Walk

May 31, 2009
by jlee
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I’ve been giving this a lot of thought, and I’ve decided that the key to being a successful quarterback in the NFL is the ability to quickly and accurately read defenses.

So, I’m going to make a concerted effort to teach my grandson how to read NFL defenses. He has a lot of potential.

I’m going to buy the most extensive cable package, TIVO all the games, and spend three to four hours daily working with the kid. Once he’s established his successful career, I can move into a nice little place on his complex. With all the economic uncertainty, I think you need a good retirement plan.

Of course, Caleb is still about a month away from his third birthday, and has to use both hands to carry a football. That’s him in the Mickey Mouse shirt.
Caleb Harvey
Chad Pennington
OK, so that’s a really stupid idea. The truth is, everything that’s hard takes time to build.

Every concertmaster started out playing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. You can’t win the Tour de France without learning to push the pedals on a tricycle.

Trying to do the advanced stuff without laying the foundation guarantees failure. It causes frustration and abandoned projects. In some cases it can be downright damaging. (You don’t teach a Little Leaguer to throw the curveball if you want him to still have an elbow when he's 16.)

Earlier this month I attended a meeting for CIOs of medium-sized enterprises, regardless of industry. There were several other healthcare CIOs there, but also IT leaders from government, industry, education, and the non-profit sector. I’d advise taking advantage of that sort of opportunity for cross-pollination whenever you can.

One of the keynote speakers was Geoffrey Moore. Moore wrote Crossing The Chasm in 1991, a seminal work in the field of innovation and technology. In my academic field of Technology Management, it’s one of those indispensible works that everyone reads and quotes to prove that they are members of the club. I was pretty pumped about getting to meet the guy.

Then he made a statement that made me say, “HUH?”

“All of the foundational IT systems are now in place. The organizations that will be successful will be those who can leverage all that data to inform their decisions.”

Foundations in place? Doesn’t he know about the adoption problems in healthcare?

In discussing the point with him later he was, of course, aware of the challenges in healthcare in general and healthcare IT in particular. He was a bit bemused at all the people who had questioned that premise for other industries as well.




Actually, the expression Moore used was "systems of record." I was paraphrasing a bit.

I think that his focus was on industries OTHER than healthcare, for example banking, manufacturing, retail. The point was that all those industries have built their systems of record- their foundations. Now they are sitting on this gold mine of information that they gather as a by-product of doing business. They need to be thinking about how to use that data to give themselves competitive advantage.

Most of us aren't there yet.