Technology and Innovation Rx for Healthcare
Blue Shield and UC Davis GSM partner on event to reimagine the business
“We need to disrupt healthcare, and the time is now.”
Todd Walthall, executive vice president of markets for Blue Shield of California, energized an audience of more than 180 business students, MBA alumni, company executives and thought-leaders. “If we don’t act, who will?” he continued. “So we’ve embraced innovation.”
Walthall kicked off Blue Shield’s first-ever Healthcare Innovation and Technology Career Summit on April 10 at the company’s headquarters in San Francisco. The summit was sponsored by the UC Davis Graduate School of Management (GSM) and more than 50 UC Davis MBA, MSBA, undergraduate students and alumni attended.
Blue Shield is a non-profit health plan provider with more than four million members and nearly 65,000 physicians across the state, generating $17.6 billion in annual revenues.
Emceed by UC Davis MBA alumna and Blue Shield’s Director of Talent Pipeline Program Becky Davis-Majewski, the event featured GSM Professor Andrew Hargadon as the evening’s keynote. Hargadon then joined a panel of Blue Shield managers working to transform the healthcare coverage and provider system.
It showed the power of bringing together a leading healthcare provider with one of the world’s top research universities in business, healthcare and medicine.
“GETTING FROM IDEAS TO INNOVATION”
Illustrating several examples from his research, including the development of penicillin as a medical breakthrough, Hargadon shared a brief primer on what it takes to turn an idea into an innovation. He outlined three key points as a road map:
1. It’s not just about the idea.
Developing an innovation relies on the ability to make an idea successful. The Great Man Theory is bogus—that a sole person deserves all the credit for a brilliant invention. In reality, famous inventions and innovations have taken teams of people, not just one genius.
2. The network is the innovation.
Connecting ideas, technology, people, organizations, policies and resources is required to make an innovation possible.
3. Innovation is nexus work.
Nexus work is the ability to see, build and guide a new network of previously unconnected pieces.
Hargadon joined a panel of Blue Shield executives to address ways to create new user experiences, develop new products and provide perspectives to transform healthcare. Nicole Brooks, a director in development and innovation, moderated the discussion, which also included Director of Health Innovation Technology Laika Kayani and Vice President of Digital Customer Experience Cecilia Sun.
One of the parts I enjoy most about the program is working with smart, collaborative professionals from other industries, roles and backgrounds.
Sun drew on her previous work in retail and financial services, declaring that we need a “bold reimagination” for healthcare. Kayani underscored Hargadon’s point about the role of the network in innovation when she emphasized the importance of relationships in facilitating the innovation network.
The speakers gave way to a recruiting fair where students learned about career opportunities with Blue Shield.
CREATING YOUR NEXUS AT UC DAVIS
Reflecting on my experience as a healthcare professional and Bay Area Part-Time MBA student, the event had a special meaning to me. It showed the power of bringing together a leading healthcare provider with one of the world’s top research universities in business, healthcare and medicine.
The Graduate School of Management is fertile ground for healthcare innovation and an incubator for new ideas, research and technology.
Famous inventions and innovations have taken teams of people, not just one genius.
The School has a collaborative, down-to-earth culture and a diverse network of business students—including a number of healthcare clinicians. The School’s Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, led by Professor Hargadon and the Office of Research’s Venture Catalyst, offers many opportunities for students to team up with experts from across UC Davis to develop healthcare-related technology and launch startups in the sector.
Conferences like Ignite, business competitions like Big Bang! and courses like “New Business Ventures,” taught by Silicon Valley veteran Marc Lowe, are just a few of the many opportunities for students to create an experience at the nexus of healthcare and technology. The School’s Sacramento Part-Time MBA program is located on the UC Davis Health campus along with the UC Davis Medical Center, the medical and nursing schools and research hubs.
TAPPING INTO UC DAVIS’ HEALTHCARE NETWORK
In my experience as a Bay Area MBA student, one of the parts I enjoy most about the program is working with smart, collaborative professionals from other industries, roles and backgrounds.
This has allowed me to:
- Take courses taught by faculty/alumni with industry experience such as the Business of Healthcare with Kristy MaKieve MBA 15. The School also offers “Project Management in Healthcare,” taught by Amber Beckler MBA 15.
- Tap into UC Davis’ healthcare network as president of the Healthcare Council, the School’s healthcare business club.
- Connect with nursing students at the UC Davis Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing.
- Rub shoulders with the ambitious clinicians—doctors, nurses, physical therapists—who are also students in the MBA program.
- Attend events with healthcare employers, such as Blue Shield’s event and a Kaiser Permanente career day visit.
- Work with a digital therapy startup to build out their business plan.
As I continue my MBA journey, I am looking forward to learning more about healthcare innovation through the School’s growing network of corporate partners, faculty, alumni and students.