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on a positive impact

Transforming Health Systems Through Innovation

By Ben Davies, Partnership Director, Johnson & Johnson Corporate Citizenship Trust

“If we don’t innovate, we don’t survive.” These powerful words come from Bharath Balasubramaniam, President of the Sankara Eye Hospitals in India and alumnus of the Innovating Health for Tomorrow (IHT) program.

On the 6th of February, I will join our partners at the INSEAD Business School for this year’s kickoff of IHT, a professional development program offered by INSEAD and the Johnson & Johnson Corporate Citizenship Trust (Trust) for the past 5 years. This pioneering program equips senior managers in the health field, like Bharath, with the mindset, knowledge and skills to transform health systems and tackle their biggest challenges to offering quality care within their organisations.

As in years past, the 2017 roster of participants brings together some of the brightest minds in health care from across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) – 42 participants from 23 countries to be exact. This year also sees 9 participants from outside EMEA, showing the international allure of IHT. These individuals are already leading the path to better health care in their work as the CEOs of hospitals, directors of medical institutes, and leading medical experts. However, health systems face ever growing pressures caused by rising populations and chronic illnesses, increased competition for resources, and perpetual changes in technology, so effectively addressing these factors requires continuous fresh thinking and adaptation.

IHT brings about new ideas by exposing participants to innovations occurring in different industries, such as information technology and finance, coupled with world leading insights into innovation management, allowing students to think beyond the health care paradigm and equip them with the right skills and tools to become efficient innovators.

Bharath recalled, “I was exposed to ideas, which sitting in my office, I could never have dreamed of being exposed to… [IHT] made me realise that creativity is not necessarily an in-born trait. It is a skill that can be learnt…You just have to learn to connect the dots.” 

Equally fundamental to the success of this program is the exchange of ideas that world-leading faculty at INSEAD, under the leadership of Prof. Steve Chick, foster amongst the participants themselves. As Maurice Codourey, Senior Advisor for Health & Science at Burson-Marsteller and IHT alumnus, shared, “You get to interact with some very innovative individuals and this makes the experience stunning…You are given the opportunity to hear about their challenges. This provides you something to compare with. It gives you perspective and you don’t feel so alone.”

The beauty of IHT is that it also provides the time and space for these leaders to reflect on their bigger goals so they can begin to implement changes as soon as they complete the program.

“The programme allowed me to take time out of my regular schedule, reflect on my work and understand what is going on in the industry. [IHT] gives you a sense of direction and the confidence to look at things differently. Additionally, it gives you tools and insights that you can use in your work right away,” explained Bharath.

There are many leadership programs that exist around the world, but few, if any, focus on the intersection between innovation and health quite like IHT does. The transformational experience that our participants report and the incredible mark they leave after completing the program keeps me believing that innovation is a skill we must prioritize to meet the increasing demands on health care. As Bharath said before, “If we don’t innovate, we don’t survive.” 



Ben Davies, Partnership Director at the J&J Corporate Citizenship Trust 


Visit the INSEAD partnership page on our website to learn more about IHT.