Naomi Fried: My 3 highest-impact programs

We’re a non-profit teaching hospital, founded in Boston in 1869, with 395 beds. We have about 9,500 employees, and we’re affiliated with Harvard University.

When my position was created, in 2010, I was tasked to try to enhance the culture of innovation. It was very vague, as it often is. As a research hospital, we did a ton of great science, but if you had a new idea about the delivery of care or the patient experience, it wasn’t so easy to get started. There were barriers, there weren’t resources, you didn’t know where to go.

When this position was created, I reported directly to the CEO. That’s very important, because innovation is often resisted. Unless you have top-level executive sponsorship, it can be hard to get new ideas adopted. (I now report to our new chief operating officer.) Coming in, they didn’t know and I didn’t know what my budget should be. But the institution saw it as a strategic investment — they took it out of strategic funds, as opposed to regular operations. The thinking was that we’ll give this a couple years, we’ll see how it goes, and we’ll evaluate.

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