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The Third Way: Innovation and CareTrek

Posted by Joe Antle on February 28, 2021 3:00 PM EST
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In 2018 I read a recently published book from the prestigious Harvard Business Publishing house that describes a "Third Way" for innovators.....

...to bring lower risk, higher impact innovations to the market to bolster a sagging product, or a new product or one which has more profit potential within or beyond its core market.  I have just started re-reading this book, and after about 60 pages can say that I am more than a little intrigued as it relates to the CareTrekl concept.  In fact, it seems to be that drawing upon the key concepts of this successful "Third Way" to deploy significant innovation while reducing risks is an interesting and relevant way to position the value and design parameters for CareTrek, both for providers and for their participants and clients of comprehensive "integrated" substance abuse recovery treatment services..

The name of this book is "The Power of Little Ideas" and it is written for companies, non-profit organizations and NGOs that are looking for ways to deploy innovation around an important core product and to do so in a lower cost and lower risk approach.  The book's authors David C. Robertson and Kent Lineback have done a good job of differentiating how the "Third Way" is perhaps a more appealing approach for most companies that don't want to disrupt their core product(s) or who want a more significant outcome potential from their innovation efforts than they can expect with sustaining innovations.  The author uses many examples of companies that have, without pretension or without even knowing it, adopted the "Third Way" as a strategic model for deploying smaller innovations that are complementary to their core product offering.  In some cases, this has enabled the company to not only bolster sales of their core product or service but to create expansion opportunities out of the innovations as the "value bundle" matures and customers look for more options in the complementary "innovation extensions.

My expertise as an ex-media executive, an employee benefits consultant and now an operations manager of a highly-regarded third party administrator of licensed professionals recovery programs  doesn't necessarily rest in the kind of expertise and study that the authors of this excellent book have demonstrated in their work and their writing.  But when I began to re-read the book last week and to see how well our concept for CareeTrek follows its model about trying to find the middle ground between the two extreme forms of innovation that researchers have embraced over the last couple of decades, I find that the "Third Way" makes a lot more sense.  Applying this model of complementary innovations that help create more value for the core offering and together benefit from the leverage of the core offering there could be many new innovations that may make the core substance abuse compliance, monitoring and drug and alochol testing administration offering, well, more of a benefit.

So, look for me to chime in over the next few weeks by providing details of the books central themes and  with some thoughts of my own that have sprung up in my mind due to continuing to read this new book and to think about how its premise could help the broader notion of driving population health management and population health improvement and substance abuse recovery "at scale" and the role of CareTrek as an option from the context of the employer's influence amongst employees and the leverage the core benefits offering may provide the small, but complementary innovations.

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