Fun Friday Links: Innovation and Storytelling, Cross-Generational Collaboration, and Big Data’s Effect on Organ Transplants

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Arwen Heredia

July 25, 2014

Welcome to Conspire’s Fun Friday Links, a weekly collection of interesting discoveries from around the Web. Most of the time, the goal is to get you thinking differently about innovation, collaboration, business culture, and life in general. Other times, we may toss an infographic or fun video your way. Submissions are welcome, and you can send them to for consideration.

Innovation Emerges From Stories We Tell

The human experience is absolutely rooted in storytelling; we’re a species of narrators, documenting our own histories and imaginings in every language and through every medium available. But when it comes to business innovation, we’re often more inclined to take action than talk about it — and that could actually be holding us back. From Forbes:

“We find ourselves in a mad rush to do innovation. We create innovation strategies, innovation processes, innovation jump-starts, innovation this and innovation that. We do things, as earnestly and energetically as we possibly can, and then we measure some stuff and decide that what we did was, or was not, a contributor to innovative output of this, or that. Then, we do it all over again, fingers crossed, all the while forgetting about the the single, most powerful, indispensable tool we have available to cause innovation: Stories.

From the time we first uttered an intelligible human syllable, we have known that stories, narratives, and tales are our primary means for both the creation and preservation of cultures, values, and ambitions. We have always known that without stories, without meaningful narratives that abide and live and breathe, our organizations, societies and governments grow sterile, lifeless and empty.”

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Healthcare Collaboration Across 3 Generations

As the global economy evolves and technology makes it possible for more people to enter the workforce than ever before, the demographic landscape for many organizations is unexpectedly diverse — particularly when it comes to employee age brackets. The disparate challenges, needs, and perspectives from different generational groups can cause a lot of friction, which in addition to being uncomfortable, can negatively impact outcomes, products, and even customers. Though the below piece is focused on dealing with these issues in the health care industry specifically, the lessons are universally applicable. From InformationWeek:

“Today’s healthcare workforce is made up of employees from at least three different generations: Baby Boomers, Gen X, and Millennials (also known as Gen Y). Each generation tends to have its own characteristics about work, traits that include their regard for authority, work ethic, and expectations. Since different generations rarely share the same views, it is not surprising that multigenerational workgroups often struggle to solve a particular challenge and may even experience conflicts.

Not only does this present a management dilemma — for nurse leaders and the organization as a whole — but if these challenges are not resolved, they can lead to negative outcomes such as diminished quality of care, patient safety, and patient satisfaction concerns.

How can healthcare organizations overcome the challenges inherent in multigenerational workgroups? This article will present recommended strategies for implementing an effective approach — as well as technology — to improve collaboration among multigenerational employees. It is a significant opportunity: Improved collaboration leads to more engaged employees, increased productivity, and improved communication, all of which improve the quality of care.”

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Big Data’s Effect on Organ Transplant Wait Lists

Organ transplantation is no doubt riddled with risk: expiration, potential rejection, damage during surgery, medicinal complications, cost, transport, and disease are only part of it. Currently, there are thousands of people in need of viable organs from donors, and the vast number of considerations that must go into the transplant of even a single organ are overwhelming. That, hopefully, is where Big Data can save the day. From Mashable:

“Of 28,594 organs transplanted in 2013, you haven’t heard about most. The stories of a few might go viral thanks to social media, but the vast majority of donated organs are harvested from deceased donors or taken from living donors in relative obscurity.

While the total number of organs transplanted seems like an impressive amount, nearly 18 people still die each day waiting for a new organ, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing, the private, non-profit organization that manages the U.S.’s organ transplant system under a contract with the federal government. Faced with more than 120,000 people who need a life-saving organ and a constant shortage of donors, economists, doctors and mathematicians are teaming up with data to save lives.

The answer, they think, might be in the algorithm.”

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