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medication lists and discharge instructions….”  Brianna Van Ness, MRT

We “laughed, cried, and felt a part of it” through the entire cycle, trying to make sense out of the entangled, non-linear way that their innovation was adopted in widening circles in the organization.  Our goal was to help grantees make sense of confusing signals along the way, not make big decisions.   Again, we were feeling our way through unexplored territory, acting our way into new thinking.  [5]

2. Monthly Conference Calls

Monthly conference calls provided a context to share work-in-progress updates.  Emphasis was placed on messy challenges as well as serendipitous possibilities.  Each grantee was asked to update the group using their Learning Journal as a guide.  Each update was followed by brief questions and resource sharing among members.

Monica Lague-Wyman appreciated the updates:

“… it was nice to know that everyone is struggling through the same issues.  I am not crazy, right?  To make it through another round of daunting challenges, we developed a catch phrase.  Like firefighters steeling themselves before rushing into the flames, “OKAY, WE ARE GOING IN.”

After a few calls, grantees became acquainted, shared ambitions, and more freely offered advice and empathy.  Dr. David Shaw was openly covetous of the Mayo Clinic innovation center, SPARC, led by Alan Duncan.  Alan  also noted the power of face-to-face connection through joint presentations,

David and I want to visit each others’ institution.  I want to stay connected. Surprisingly, just the other day, a physician leader at Mayo stormed into my office saying ‘SPARC had to do something about medication reconciliation immediately.’  Knowing about David’s ‘translator’ project gave me sense of where to start and more reasons to stay in touch.”

3. Learning Resources Matched to Challenges

To advance development and diffusion, we featured readings and brief presentations on topics that emerged in previous calls. We made an explicit choice not to create an innovation curriculum in advance but rather to “tune into” what was important to the grantees as the projects developed.  Additionally, we leaned away from expert business or technical advice, focusing more on the challenging social aspects of change and diffusion that all the grantees shared.  

Dr. David Shaw made use of the concept of social network mapping to explore how identifying informal opinion leaders could accelerate adoption.  Diffusion research suggests that a small group of highly respected peers, approximately 10% of a community, influences the adoption decisions of the other 90%.  

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