Firms can learn a great deal from studying organizations in other fields, rather than simply benchmarking rivals within their industry. How do you choose the organizations to examine? Think in terms of analogous experiences. What specific process, system, or behavior do we want to improve? Who has similar challenges, and how might we learn about how they overcome those challenges? For Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children, Great Britain's largest pediatric hospital, the payoff from studying an analogous experience turned out to be quite substantial. Who did they study? A superb Formula One Ferrari racing team! Several years ago, Gautum Naik of the Wall Street Journal reported on this fascinating cross-industry learning experience. Here's an excerpt:
Thousands of such "handoffs" occur in hospitals every day, and devastating mistakes can happen during them. This one went off without a hitch, thanks to pit-stop techniques of the Ferrari race-car team.
"It was smooth. We didn't miss anything," said Dr. McEwan, a senior anesthesiologist at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children. His role as leader of the handoff was partly modeled after Ferrari's "lollipop man," who uses a large paddle to direct drivers to the pit.
In one of the more unlikely collaborations of modern medicine, Britain's largest children's hospital has revamped its patient handoff techniques by copying the choreographed pit stops of Italy's Formula One Ferrari racing team. The hospital project has been in place for two years and has already helped reduce the number of mishaps.