Cardiac Cath Lab: Innovation on Site

Posted on March 28, 2009  Comments (1)

photo of Cath LabPhoto of John Cooke at the Cardiac Catheterisation Labs at St. Thomas’ hospital in London

I manage several blogs on several topics that are related. Often blog posts stay firmly in the domain of one blog of the other. Occasionally the topic blurs the lines between the various blogs (which I like). This post ties directly to my Curious Cat Management Improvement Blog. The management principles I believe in are very similar to engineering principles (no surprise given this blog). And actual observation in situ is important – to understand fully the situation and what would be helpful. Management relying on reports instead of seeing things in action results in many poor decisions. And engineers doing so also results in poor decisions.

Getting to Gemba – a day in the Cardiac Cath Lab by John Cooke

I firmly believe that it is impossible to innovate effectively without a clear understanding of the context and usage of your final innovation. Ideally, I like to “go to gemba“, otherwise known as the place where the problem exists, so I can dig for tacit knowledge and observe unconscious behaviours.

I didn’t disgrace myself and I’ve been invited back for another day or so. What did I learn that I didn’t know before? The key things I learnt were:

  • the guide wire isn’t just a means of steering the catheter into place as I thought. It is a functional tool in it’s own right
  • Feel is really critical to the cardiologist
  • There is a huge benefit in speeding up procedures in terms of patient wellbeing and lab efficiency
  • Current catheter systems lack the level of detection capability and controllability needed for some more complex PCIs (Percutaneous Cardiac Interventions)

The whole experience reminded me that in terms of innovation getting to gemba is critical. When was the last time you saw your products in use up-close and personal?

Related: Jeff Bezos Spends a Week Working in Amazon’s Kentucky Distribution CenterToyota Engineering Development ProcessMarissa Mayer on Innovation at GoogleBe Careful What You MeasureS&P 500 CEOs are Often Engineering GraduatesExperiment Quickly and Often

One Response to “Cardiac Cath Lab: Innovation on Site”

  1. Curious Cat Science and Engineering Blog » Engineer Tried to Save His Sister and Invented a Breakthrough Medical Device
    September 9th, 2009 @ 6:08 pm

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