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The word “innovation” seems to be a trigger for resistance, especially from established institutions. If we can’t get disruptive change started with those most knowledgeable in a field, then we’ve got to seek out those who don’t know where the boundaries are drawn.

Sean Parker, founder of Napster and founding President of Facebook, created a dialogue that got the six biggest cancer institutions to work together (similar to what he did with the record labels and Spotify). The hospitals now share their findings and the future benefits of each other’s successes. Sean also helped with researchers’ time by providing a substantial gift; as much as 90% of their focus was previously spent chasing grants. Finally, the funding that he provided didn’t follow the established funding stream but went to researchers with breakthrough concepts.

If you don’t have a “Sean”, walk away from a problem that you own, rejuvenate your mind and come back with a fresh perspective. Invite someone not ‘in the know’ to hear your story. They may see something that’s in your blindspot.

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