Context-Driven Innovation

InnovationInnovation has been a recurring topic of late (for me) and the subject came up again earlier today during a casual conversation.

While it is actually quite normal for me to touch on Innovation (I examine Innovation as a topic frequently in public conferences, private training sessions as well as teaching the basics as part of Mini-HI (Mini Health Informatician) what made the conversation special was that I was sharing the core principles on non health(care) related subjects (to be precise, I was applying it to Organisational Improvement and Product Development) and the people I was having the conversation with were very surprised at how the underlying principles are applicable to virtually any disciplines.

The reason(s) being? I was sharing on Context-Driven Innovation and as the name implies, is not only pragmatic but sustainable because it is innovation applied to the underlying needs (hence the contextual part).

To be clear, I didn’t invent the term “Context-Driven Innovation” (because it ready existed when I coined the term), what happened was (due to the nature of my work) I derived a set of “Innovation ideology” over time (through research and relentless practical iterations) and realised that the core principles derived are contextually relevant to the subject applied (hence deciding to call it Context-Driven Innovation).

I did made a determined push on this topic (in this region) back on 3rd August 2016 when I authored the theme (and general scope) for a local Health Innovation related contest / challenge that was aspiring to go regional, although I parted ways with the organising partners, they continued to use my theme of Context-Driven Innovation and some of my contents. To quote a portion of what I wrote back then;

XYZ Challenge 2017 brings together people and organizations across the entire ecosystem to develop new ideas for innovation that will improve the delivery of health and care services for the people (wellness) and patients (healthcare) across the entire continuum of care.

Jointly organized with the A and B the XYZ Challenge 2017 serves as a platform to germinate and empower professionals from the various disciplines to collaborate and leverage each other’s expertise & experience (e.g. Pairing clinicians with techies sharing similar innovation interest) to develop quality solutions that are context-driven as to ensure sustainable adoption, benefiting both the health(care) providers and consumer/patients.

As one can observe, the above paragraphs provides a guideline of sort on some parts of the prescribed Context-Driven Innovation but the context portion is missing. To properly explain the contextual portion, we need to first examine what Innovation is.

A popular definition obtainable off the Internet is the Merriam-Webster dictionary version where Innovation is defined as “a new idea, device, or method; the act or process of introducing new ideas, devices or methods“.

I respectfully disagree.

To truly illustrate the underlying reasons of my disagreement would take time, hence, it will be another topic for another day. What I will try to do here is briefly (and holistically) illustrate why, by giving an example using IoT – which is at the time of writing this article, touted as a great driver of innovation.

To ensure semantic understanding, the definition of IoT (according to Wikipedia) is;

The Internet of Things (IoT) is the inter-networking of physical devices, vehicles (also referred to as “connected devices” and “smart devices”), buildings, and other items embedded with electronics, software, sensors, actuators, and network connectivity which enable these objects to collect and exchange data.

Did you know that first IoT device was a Coke machine at Carnegie Melon University in the early 1980s? Let us re-examine Merriam-Webster’s definition where Innovation is defined as “a new idea, device, or method; the act or process of introducing new ideas, devices or methods“.

Simplistically put, IoT is not new but it is indeed a driving force for innovation.

At this point, I would like to introduce my definition of Innovation;

“Innovation is the use of tools (analogue and/or digital) to extend one’s reach (capabilities) or to bridge a gap as to meet an underlying need”.
Dr. Adam CHEE, 2017

So where does the contextual portion comes in? To explain this part, I would invite you to read an older article of mine – Use Case vs. Process vs. Workflow – Which is the secret ingredient?, it briefly illustrates the concept of workflow (which is related but not the same as user-cases or processes).

With the understanding of what workflow truly is, I would like to finish this article by introducing my definition of Context-Driven Innovation;

Context-Driven Innovation is the optimisation of Workflow and (could include) the utilisation of tools (analogue and/or digital) to extend one’s reach (capabilities) or to bridge a gap as to meet an underlying need”.
Dr. Adam CHEE, 2007

Till next time.

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Ramblings: New Cartoon

It is not common knowledge but I would create simple cartoons to illustrate certain concepts, especially if I find myself repeating them often.

Most of these cartoons are not made known to public but I have decided to share with you folks, a new cartoon I’ve created today, on the topic of “How NOT to leverage your Subject Matter Expert”.

(Inspiration source: Consulting clients in health(care) projects as well as from companies I’m helping to venture into China.)


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Will technology replace physicians?

The question of “whether Technology will replace physicians in the near future” was posed to me last week during a commercial discussion and I thought I’ll share my perspective with you folks.

Truth be told, it was not the first time I was asked this question (or its multiple variants – Clinical Decision Support, Artificial Intelligence, Big Data & Analytics, Machine Learning and of course, IBM Watson. For the uninitiated, the various concepts / technology mentioned are actually inter-related).

To illustrate my perspective, I will quote a scene from the movie “Hidden Figures” (a 2016 American biographical drama film on African American female mathematicians who worked at NASA during the Space Race.) 

No worries if you have not watched the movie. Basically, John Glenn, the first American astronaut to orbit the earth did not trust the trajectory and entry points calculations provided by the newly-installed IBM 7090s and insisted that Katherine Johnson (the movie’s protagonist) check and confirm the numbers. If Katherine had determined the calculations provided by the IBM 7090s to be inaccurate, then the mission (to orbit the earth) would be aborted.

That was 1962. I would imagine that the scenario to be somewhat reversed in today’s context where we would insist that any calculations performed by humans be verified by computers.

So where is the part where I proclaim that “Technology replaced Humans”? I didn’t.

The main reason why people post the question of “whether technology will replace physicians in the near future” (and its various variant) is because they;

So why won’t technology replace physicians? To shred some insights, did you know that as late as 1942, a famous medical textbook considered bloodletting appropriate treatment for pneumonia?

What is my point exactly?

Well, the role of physician have been changing over the centuries, the constant introduction of better tools and knowledge only serves to help them do their job better (read: evolution of the medical discipline ) but advancement in the medical discipline will not be uniformed, that’s why bloodletting is still considered by some to be an appropriate treatment for pneumonia as late as 1942.

If you found the above illustration beneficial or enabled you to obtained further insights on the nature of health(care), I suggest you read my whitepaper on Sustainable Adoption in Health Informatics.

Note: Found this article useful? Then do a Good Deed today!

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Updates: Optimising sharing of Updates

Hi everyone,

In order to optimise information flow (in this case – updates from BinaryHealthCare), we decided to tweak the workflow on how we will be disseminating updates through the use of Social Media.

  • Updates via Twitter and LinkedIn will be synchronised
    • The content distributed will be mostly status update and sharing of external content (including events)
    • I understand that some social media experts will cringe at the idea of having the exact same content distributed at Twitter  and LinkedIn (platforms designed for very different purposes), however, we are aiming to keep content shared at a professional level

So what does the above changes means? The idea is to make it easy for anyone interested in what BinaryHealthCare is up to.

  • If one wishes to be kept abreast of what we are doing and/or get new content as and when it is available, follow us via Twitter
  • If one wishes to communicate directly with us (for professional purposes), connect via LinkedIn or drop us an email

The changes are effective as of today so we really hope this help.



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Where did time go? Mini-HI

It is close to the middle of March, that means more than a quarter of 2017 has gone by. Now where did all that time go???

Where Did the Time Go

I had a friend in Qatar asking me 2 weeks ago if things are all right with me as I have not been blogging since 20 Dec 2016. Truth is, I have been travelling quite a fair bit for an unusual project -it is not the sort of work I normally undertake but to be honest, I really enjoyed it. The good news is, there is a possibility that this could turn into a long-term engagement so fingers cross.

Now I know that being busy isn’t an excuse for not posting blog entries but if one were to take note, I have been tweeting (the tweets appears on the right side of the “Blog & Tweets” page) and I guess going forward, I’ll be posting more tweets  than blog entries (there is also a commercial reason for this).

I also wish to take the opportunity to share that I will be doing another run of the Mini-HI (Mini Health Informatician) at NUS Singapore next week (teaching is something I really enjoy) and I promise to tweet about it 🙂

Till the next post entry., cheers!

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Happy Holidays!


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Ageing Intervention – Start at 40

The topic of ageing is a popular one and this come as no surprises since so many countries have their eyes on this subject, each trying their best to come up with a viable solution (or as they like to call it – Ageing Intervention).

The topic came up repeatedly last week during the Hospital Management Program I attended as well as during a dinner meeting with a delegation from the Netherlands (more details on both events will be provided in a separate post).

I shared with both audience (the first being senior health executives from Asia Pacific and the latter being senior health executives from the Netherlands) that I have always advocated (and taught formally in the Mini-HI program) that almost everyone who is attempting to ‘fix’ ageing is doing it wrong.

The reaction I received is almost always the same – puzzlement and suspicion, that is until I explain the reasons why I made such a bold statement. Given that I always get the same reaction, I reckon that it will be more meaningful / impactful if I share  this via Social Media.

To give some background, I get involved very frequently in designing intervention solutions (as a Health Informatician) for the ageing population and I noticed that the use-case almost always starts with the population being already “old” (be it 60 or 65, depending on the region of focus).

Wearing my “Public Health Hat” (yes, I am a Public Health Professional too!), I always ask why not start the ageing intervention when the population is  40? At least 20 years before retirement so prevention measures can be adopted?

With proper exercises, diet and mental  care etc. factored into preventive measures targeting population around the age of 40, we will mitigate a lot of the problems we are trying to fix at level 1 and 2 (maybe even level 3) interventions for the ageing population! And it would be a lot cheaper (not to mention effective) too!

Heck, we may even get to design solutions for graceful ageing if we plan our solutions for population when they are in their 40s.

So whoever is reading this, keep in mind to find a qualified Health Informatician who also happens to have a MPH and is a Mensan (hint: Look for me) when you are trying to fix health and healthcare… lol

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