My post from last week along with a conversation I had with my brother got me thinking about all the good pharmacy ideas that never see the light of day. I know there are some great ideas out there because I’ve been fortunate enough to see many of them in my travels. My job gives me the opportunity to visit a lot of hospital pharmacies and speak to a lot of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians. Trust me when I say there are a lot of smart people out there that could improve the practice of pharmacy with their ideas.
So why is it that so many good ideas don’t get the attention they deserve? There are lots of reasons.
For individuals that work in pharmacies the problem may be obscurity. When an idea isn’t shared it becomes nothing more than a well-kept secret. Other problems for individuals include lack of money or time, short attention span or lack of patience, not knowing where or how to start, etc.
For companies that make their living off good ideas it’s a matter of choosing the right fit. Companies don’t always decide to move forward with the “best idea”. They move forward with ideas that are strategic for the company and stand the best chance of gaining customers and increasing the bottom line. Unfortunately that means that a lot of solid ideas end up getting scrapped and stored as intellectual property never to see the light of day. That’s not a dig at companies that build pharmacy automation and technology; it’s simply the truth of the matter.
Anyway, what pharmacy needs is a safe place for people to deposit new ideas where others can evaluate them, comment on them, and maybe even improve on them. And if an idea is right for someone else they grab it and run with it. The problem of course becomes who owns the idea, what becomes of intellectual property and so on. According to Benjamin Jowett “the way to get things done is not to mind who gets the credit for doing them”. I believe in this saying, but it will only take you so far. People love to take credit for someone else’s work. Trust me on this one, I’ve witnessed it firsthand a couple of times as a product manager. People are not above taking credit for an idea that isn’t theirs when they think it will help them climb the ladder of success. It’s weird to see someone do that. They know it’s wrong because they can’t look you in the eyes when they’re lying their ass off; says something about their character. Sorry, I digress.
The other thing that would have to be worked out is a method to prevent companies from grabbing ideas to simply squash them. Companies are not above sitting on things that might not help them, but would hurt them financially if a competitor got ahold of it.
Regardless of the detail I still like the idea of a place where one can shop for pharmacy ideas. As I mentioned previously, there are a lot of smart people out there with a lot of great ideas. I’d like to see those ideas put to good use improving the practice of pharmacy, both operationally and clinically. In this day and age where information is easily shared and readily available it simply doesn’t make sense to have ideas die for lack of exposure.