Wednesday, August 13

Atul Gawande: How Do Good Ideas Spread?

Einstein said that genius is one percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration. Besides other things son I help change organisations. It's difficult. People don't like change. It's the inertia of rest. So one has to move this to the inertia of motion. Continuous improvement. This article tells much that's common in my life as well. Talk to people. Don't tell them what to do. Give options. Otherwise people will do because you told them to. Rather than do because it makes sense. 

Changing behaviours is the most difficult. And takes the longest period. Years even. You have to have insane levels of dedication, passion and perseverance. You will make mistakes. Lots of them. Learn from them son. But it can be done. 

Somebody said to me, you are strange. You like your job. I do. I like making things happen. Fun times. Nothing like walking out at the end of the day satisfied you have won some battles and have left the world a little better than you found it in the morning. 



Atul Gawande: How Do Good Ideas Spread? : The New Yorker

Why do some innovations spread so swiftly and others so slowly? Consider the very different trajectories of surgical anesthesia and antiseptics, both of which were discovered in the nineteenth century. The first public demonstration of anesthesia was in 1846. The Boston surgeon Henry Jacob Bigelow was approached by a local dentist named William Morton, who insisted that he had found a gas that could render patients insensible to the pain of surgery. That was a dramatic claim. In those days, even a minor tooth extraction was excruciating. Without effective pain control, surgeons learned to work with slashing speed. Attendants pinned patients down as they screamed and thrashed, until they fainted from the agony. Nothing ever tried had made much difference. Nonetheless, Bigelow agreed to let Morton demonstrate his claim.

On October 16, 1846, at Massachusetts General Hospital, Morton administered his gas through an inhaler in the mouth of a young man undergoing the excision of a tumor in his jaw. The patient only muttered to himself in a semi-conscious state during the procedure. The following day, the gas left a woman, undergoing surgery to cut a large tumor from her upper arm, completely silent and motionless. When she woke, she said she had experienced nothing at all.

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