Consider the Source
This past Saturday, my grandparents celebrated 70 years of marriage in a blowout bash at the military retirement home they live in. There’s a lot in that sentence. I have grandparents. Not something most people my age can say. Let’s not gloss over the fact that they’ve been married for seven decades. Not something most people at any age can say. And without an innovative immortality drug, not something I’d ever personally experience.
I am the Chief Innovation Officer for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts. If there is a conference or a need for someone to give a talk, I often get the call. I’m asked to do this because for some reason people think I am somewhat of a credible source on the topic of innovation in health care. I’ve sat on many a panel, given some keynote talks, and been asked to give a welcome address every now and again. Because I’m creditable on the subject matter.
Saturday night at the party, I was voluntold to do the welcome address. I said something like this:
“So you are probably thinking two things right now. The first answer is yes — I am rooting for the Patriots tomorrow. (Well…) The second answer is…not a damn thing. To which the question is, ‘What credibility could I possibly bring to a 70th wedding anniversary that I would be asked (voluntold) to do the welcome?’
Maybe it’s because I’m the loudest one in the family and they wanted to make sure no one fell asleep. It could be that I am the oldest grandchild (my sister didn’t make it). We are a military family and hierarchy matters. Or maybe it’s because I am the proud product of 70 years of marriage. I was born in 1970. My mother, the oldest of their children may or may not turn 70 in December. And, 70 days from now, it will be April 14. Which has nothing to do with 70.
Back to something I do know a little something about. Human-centered design is at the foundation of every great innovation if you want to create something of high quality, that can withstand the test of time, and that everyone wants.
Grandma and Grandpa, you crazy kids, my expert advice to you as a credible source in innovation is this. Patent your formula for marriage and sell it. I can help. Happy 70th wedding anniversary!”