The practice of innovation, like that of medicine, is a team sport. Through the course of writing this book, I learned that authorship is also a collective pursuit.
The roster of mentors, colleagues, friends, and inspirations is long, and I fear that I may inadvertently fail to include all in these acknowledgments. I could have simply recognized my Cleveland Clinic colleagues as a group because we’re an organization that lives by our motto “To act as a unit”—and I have benefited from this as a member of that community and as a patient—nevertheless, I want to recognize some of the valued contributors who made this book possible.
Cleveland Clinic CEO and president Toby Cosgrove deserves the pole position in this section for a multitude of reasons. His vision for and leadership of our organization has transformed Cleveland Clinic from a regionally dominant healthcare system to an international medical resource. His personal history as an inventor and his dedication to making innovation a cornerstone of our institutional identity enables CCI to flourish. I am humbled that he named me Cleveland Clinic’s inaugural chief innovation officer. Through the Cleveland Clinic Way series, he empowered our organization to share its experiences and expertise to help transform all of healthcare.
In the early 1990s, Joe Hahn was my mentor in developing the concepts that eventually led to CCI, while simultaneously guiding my career in his role as Cleveland Clinic’s chief of surgery. In my decade away from Cleveland Clinic, Joe, as the physician-leader and steward of CCI, built the infrastructure on which it stands today. One of the major reasons I returned to Cleveland was to work again with Joe in his capacity as chief of staff. There is no person I have known of greater integrity and humanism. As a physician, executive, family man, and human being, there is no better role model.
Also preceding me in authorship of a book in the Cleveland Clinic Way series is my friend Jim Merlino. As former chief experience officer of Cleveland Clinic, he pioneered many of the programs that solidified Cleveland Clinic as a leader in engagement and empathetic treatment. His Service Fanatics is a great read that captures the essence of our organization’s “Patients First” philosophy.
Linda McHugh is executive administrator to the CEO and Board of Governors. She is not only a key contributor to the success of our organization, but also an advocate for telling our story through vehicles such as the Cleveland Clinic Way series. She is a prime mover behind the scenes. Her enthusiasm for what we do at Cleveland Clinic is equaled only by her loyalty to the institution and its mission.
Six other Cleveland Clinic officers or trustees have been exceptionally influential in my professional journey to becoming the chief innovation officer: The late Fred Loop was the CEO when we first executed on partnering the individual with the institution for the IP estate in its contemporary model. Bob Rich, CEO of Rich Products Corporation, was the chairman of the Board of Trustees who planted the seed for me to return to Cleveland after a decade in Baltimore. Joe Scaminace, the board vice chairman, has been a treasured friend and business advisor, while setting an example as the successful CEO of OM Group. Tom Wamberg, a gifted thinker and successful innovator, has been a close confidant and has interjected entrepreneurial spirit and philanthropy into CCI. Pat Auletta has brought his deep knowledge in sophisticated finance to tutor me on how to perpetuate our function through times of plenty and austerity. Finally, Harry Rein has made untold contributions to CCI in his many roles as chairman of our various advisory bodies and as a staunch advocate for innovation in the academic setting.
I’ve published extensively in hand surgery—I didn’t know how easy I had it writing about a subject where the basics of anatomy and biomechanics don’t change. When you are writing about a complex, dynamic topic like innovation, it’s a real challenge. I was blessed to have the expert assistance of four fantastic editors. Beth Brumbaugh is a skilled and experienced collaborator whom I luckily “inherited” from Jim Merlino. I know how much my writing improved during our exchanges; her deft touch allowed me to tell my story and that of CCI in my own words while making it more accessible to you.
There is probably no individual more fluent in both the English language and the culture of Cleveland Clinic than Steve Szilagyi. He guided my thoughts and words in a way that brings the topic and the organization to life. Editorial assistance from Cleveland Clinic’s Bob Smith was valuable in guiding the book over the finish line. He showed skill and passion for the project, which positively influenced its outcome.
I have learned a great deal from McGraw-Hill publications over the years and am humbled now to be on the other side of the page as an author. The high quality of McGrawHill’s books is due in large part to editors such as Casey Ebro, with whom I had the pleasure to work. She had an amazing vision for this book and the entire series. It is a special gift to be a great storyteller, but to do it by guiding the pen of several authors is truly exceptional. I thank her for her support and guidance.
My quarter-century as a physician and my 14 months as a patient uniquely qualify me as a veteran provider and consumer. In the book, I say that “innovation saved my life”—more correctly, innovation in the hands of engaged and expert caregivers saved my life. There’s practically nobody at Cleveland Clinic who didn’t participate in my care, but four individuals really steered the ship: Drs. Matt Walsh, Sri Chalikonda, Mark Baker, and Chuck O’Malley. The fact is that I simply would not be here without them and the countless nurses, therapists, techs, housekeeping staff, food service employees, valets, and others who make up the Cleveland Clinic family.
As a servant leader, I truly work with and for a great group of professionals at CCI. I hope you’ll visit our website (www.clevelandclinic.org/innovations) to learn more about our function and our team, each of whom brings unique perspectives and skills to grow and sustain our primacy. I am unable to list them all by name here, but I do want to recognize one former and one contemporary leader. Chris Coburn was a critical pioneer and partner in bringing CCI to its leadership position. Brian Kolonick leads our Global Healthcare Innovations Alliance with deep enthusiasm and intelligence.
The efforts of CCI have been buoyed by the sagacious advice of so many Innovation Advisory Board (IAB) members over the years who deserve a great deal of credit for our success. Dennis Kass, who has enjoyed a spectacular career on Wall Street and in public service, introduced me to Andrew Lo, one of the world’s foremost economists, who has become my close friend and advisor over matters that will help perpetuate the mission-driven innovation ecosystem. I particularly want to recognize Steve Lindseth, Brad Vale, and Joe Cunningham, who have always extended their personal experience as entrepreneurs to me.
The professional staff that keeps me going every day, while juggling my clinical and executive duties, deserves equal credit: Michele Koballa, executive secretary; David Racela, nurse; and Nancy Sanders, clinical secretary, perform an amazing balancing act daily with aplomb and grace.
Innovators and patients are the reasons CCI exists; they’re why Cleveland Clinic exists. CCI serves our abundant creative population, a community of innovators that is unparalleled. Underlying all I have done as a doctor, executive, or inventor is the dedication to improve and extend human life. There is no greater calling than to assist your fellow human beings, especially in their time of need. Whether you do this in a scrub suit or business suit, it is a noble aspiration and the prime motivator for our work and this book.