There are two types of innovation.

First, there’s innovation in the underlying technology, tools or components that can be used to do something. Let’s call it local innovation. This ussually starts as experimentation with new ways of doing things just to see if it’s possible… to see what happens. It does not start with a specific problem and can be completely fueled by curiosity and a sense of wonder. Local innovation is important because it creates new opportunities that didn’t exist before. However, it is not the type of innovation that leads to real change in the world and we can get into trouble when we pretend that it is.

Second, there’s innovation in the way we actually do our jobs. Let’s call this systems innovation. Systems innovation must start with a problem that needs to be solved. The problem, or current state, is clearly defined and the cost to the system is well known. The desired state is also well defined, and we at least have a plan for how we will measure and prove success. The real work, and therefore real systems innovation, occurs between the current and desired state. And that’s what we’re here to talk about today.

The reality is that there’s a lot of innovation just for the sake of innovation… it seems as if product development is outpacing an understanding of the actual needs.

Jeremiah Gray, EarthSafe Chemical Alternatives

Our guest is Jeremiah Gray, COO and founding partner of EarthSafe Chemical Alternatives. Jeremiah walks us through his framework for innovation with purpose and you’ll see that it requires systems thinking. The conversation yields an innovation continuum that looks something like this:

  1. Clearly define the problem you are trying to solve. What is the current state? Why is it worth changing?
  2. Clearly define the desired state. What should it look like? How will we measure and prove success?
  3. What are the constants (i.e. things outside of our control, or things that we cannot change)?
  4. What are the variables that we can change?
  5. What is a solution that fits within the boundaries defined so far?
  6. Who or what else is impacted by our approach?
  7. Where are we finding, or creating points of friction that will hinder success?
  8. How can we address those points of friction with our product, services, or through collaboration?
  9. Have we created any new risks for our customers? How can we mitigate those?
  10. Establish an ongoing and iterative approach for ensuring our customers continued success.

The big take away for me is this: Innovation with a purpose requires you to have a laser focus on your customer’s ultimate success. Your goal is not to build a product/service that CAN solve your customer’s problem, but to build it and deliver it in such a way that they actually succeed. That requires long-term, systems thinking.

Jeremiah explains ErthSafe’s approach to innovation by way of example. The launch of the EvaClean Infection Prevention System is a clinic in systems innovation and sets a high bar for taking responsibility for your work. If you’re innovating in healthcare, then there are lessons in here for you. Enjoy!

Check out the rest of our coverage on Infection Prevention and Control.

For more on systems thinking: Why Healthcare Needs a Systems Approach with Jason “The Germ Guy” Tetro from HITS 2018

Jeremiah Gray, EarthSafe Chemical Alternatives

Jeremiah Gray is COO and founding partner of EarthSafe Chemical Alternatives in Braintree, Massachusetts.  In 2016, EarthSafe developed the EvaClean Infection Prevention System and has since become the leading authority on healthier disinfection, pioneering the only touchless system built around one broad-spectrum chemistry that’s powerful, yet safer and environmentally sustainable. EvaClean is a complete, standardized and scalable system comprised of Protexus Electrostatic Sprayers, Purtabs Sanitizer/Disinfectant, and PurOne Surface Cleaner/Disinfectant, its front-end solution for daily room and terminal cleaning. EarthSafe designs best practices for high-level compliance and maximum efficiency to provide total holistic building health.  A long-time advocate of environmental causes, Jeremiah leveraged a successful career in financial advisement to create a ground-breaking green technologies management platform and investment philosophy linking corporate financial performance to environmental sustainability and social responsibility. 

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Upcoming speaking engagements:

The Infection Prevention Strategy (TIPS)

This is a TIPS Deep Dive interview.

TIPS, or the Infection Prevention Strategy, is a non-profit that makes the process of vetting new technologies, implementing successful programs and inspiring innovation more efficient, more accessible, more global and more collaborative. They believe that we shouldn’t have to wait years for promising innovations, ideas and processes to be implemented and accepted. I agree.

Around the world, Executive Director Michael Diamond and his team develop trials and conduct pilot studies to aid in the discovery of successful research to market technological advancements.

Behind the scenes, TIPS is doing a lot of work to support the business of healthcare, and more importantly, to keep you and your family safe.

You can learn more about TIPS at

Healthcare Infection Transmission Systems (HITS) and HITS 2019

The Healthcare Infections Transmission System (HITS) Consortium looks to promote public health by reducing healthcare-associated infections through the integration of best infection prevention practices. HITS will focus on the major pathogen transmission systems in the healthcare setting specifically; surfaces, person to person, water and air. Join us for this one-of-a-kind, multimodal event where researchers and experts from across disciplines will work toward identifying research gaps and applying data-driven methods in the field. Meet, greet and share ideas with the individuals and organizations who are growing and sustaining the industry, as we explore creative and innovative solutions to this global problem.

The HITS 2019 Conference will be held on August 6, 7 & 8th at the Buffalo Grand Hotel in Buffalo, New York. After the resounding success of the inaugural 2017 conference and our recent 2018 Nashville conference, we are pleased to offer you more at HITS 2019! This year, we will provide expanded network opportunities, an exhibition hall, a poster session and more! The agenda includes presentations from focus groups developed at the 2017 & 2018 conferences addressing key trends in infection prevention. We are confident that, regardless of discipline, attendees will find opportunities to be a part of the conversation and be a catalyst for change in reducing healthcare associated infections.

Learn more:

The #HCBiz Show! will be a media partner again for this year’s conference. Check out our extensive coverage of HITS 2018 in Nashville.

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Trying to drive change within your healthcare organization? Launching a new product? Having trouble getting decision-makers’ attention and buy-in?

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