Chief strategy and growth officer,
Nordlund leads the Banner Innovation Group—BIG—which is armed with $5 million to $10 million in capital funding annually to support innovations inside and outside of Banner. He’s engineered several consumer-facing changes at Banner including virtual waiting rooms, chatbots for ED visits and digital symptom triage. During the pandemic, Banner has instituted digital triage to guide patients to the best location for care and chatbots let patients pre-register and know what to expect at the ED.
How do you identify opportunities for innovation?
Our group tries to think about where the organization needs to be in 10-plus years and then innovates toward that goal. That includes trying to very intentionally anticipate what our healthcare customers need and want, not just what they are accustomed to receiving. One of the great challenges will always be trying to create a frictionless system of integrated health and healthcare services that eliminates pain points that most customers face when trying to access services.
What advice do you have for people who know how to get an idea in front of managers but may be afraid of failing?
Both leadership and innovation take courage and a constant focus on doing the right thing. But managers and senior leaders are the ones responsible for building an environment and culture that does not create a fear of failing. When things do not go as planned, it is an opportunity to learn and adapt. We try to encourage people to approach everyday activities with a “beginner’s mind.” That requires a willingness to maintain constant curiosity and to use that mindset to challenge the status quo.
How do you stay focused on innovation during a crisis?
How can an organization not focus on and encourage innovation during these times? This is the exact moment for innovation. A shortage of PPE resulted in the BIG team actually starting up a mask-building plant, while the scarcity of hand sanitizer resulted in them partnering with local distilleries to quickly get the necessary alcohol to mix our own sanitizer as a stopgap. Our team not only helped solve real-time issues but also provided sustainable solutions for the entire organization.