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Innovation and Entrepreneurship: SUD Recovery, CareTrek and COVID-19

Posted by Joe Antle on May 29, 2020 9:20 AM EDT
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While it is true that all innovations aren't necessarily created by entrepreneurs and all entrepreneurs have their ventures based on...

...innovations, some well-regarded business researchers and scholars feel that there are common links to how entrepreneurship and innovative projects and ventures are impacted by pandemics.  Some of the rules for surviving and thriving in and after pandemics may be applicable to all kinds of innovative projects or entrepreneurial ventures.  I think this is particularly true of innovations such as CareTrek which seek to enhance existing employee assistance program benefits or community-wide addiction treatment services in bolder but more convenient ways. If so, it is highly likely these principles can be useful for the innovations and entrepreneurial ventures which lie ahead or have been recently put in place to help drive significant improvements in population health generally, and in chronic conditions recovery specifically.  In both these scenarios, CareTrek could be considered a relevant example.

Given this premise, a recent article by a professor from Wharton Business School who also is a successful entrepreneur on the side focused on advice for entrepreneurs in dealing with pandemics.  The title of the article which arrived this week in my email as part of my personal subscription to the "Knowledge@Wharton" e-newsletter is: "Pulling Through the Pandemic: Advice for Entrepreneurs" written by Karl Ulrich.  

The article is an excellent piece and an easy "read", meaning it's not too long, nor to academically-worded for most pragmatic and busy readers.  In fact, even I can understand it.  I wanted to share two key excerpts from the article that I found sort of summed up the issue presented by the author.    However, for those who prefer to read such bits of knowledge on their own to form their own conclusions, here is a link to the article:

So, the following are those excerpts.

The VIDE Model


Ulrich teaches the VIDE model to his students. The acronym holds that value, or V, in entrepreneurship is a function of three factors: the idea (I); your skills and capabilities, or what you do with the idea (D); and exogenous factors (E) that are out of your control. That could be a fire that destroys the physical store, a sudden collapse in demand because of a change in technology, or even a viral outbreak that changes daily life across the globe. 

“For Karl Ulrich, vice dean of entrepreneurship and innovation at Wharton, the existential threat to small businesses struggling through the coronavirus pandemic isn’t just an academic exercise “We need to find a better way to communicate to young people that these things do happen and that there is tremendous value to being lean and flexible in the event that some disruption occurs,” he said. “I think tempering optimism with a sense of there is going to be something, it’s going to be outside of your control, and being resilient and learn to navigate it is an important quality in entrepreneurs.”

“Focus on what are your skills, and those skills better be tied to recognizing problems and solving those problems. Those are the skills that make you most useful in a crisis and that I think make you most useful in general in life,” he said. “We were in a period of a lot of irrational exuberance, a lot of capital available, a lot of people [getting] by on swagger. I think those times are gone.”

These quotes are applicable in the example of CareTrek.  CareTrek is simply a sustaining innovation for employers who want to improve their compliance with and support of the Drug-Free Workplace policy mandate, that want to provide a more comprehensive addiction recovery employee assistance program and to help valued employees salvage and reclaim their career and work readiness standing within their organization.  

In adopting the lessons of this article, we must make sure that the components of the CareTrek program continue to stay on track with the mission of being a comprehensive addition recovery employment assistance program that is more convenient, affordable, reliable, and effective when compared to alternatives.  And in so doing, we must be conscious of moving with proper pacing and use prudence and good judgment in client selection in the near future.

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