Yesterday morning, I delivered a keynote to executives, engineers, scientists and staff at the 3M Innovation Center on the corporate campus of the 3M Corporation in St. Paul, Minnesota. It was the culmination of a two day visit in which I had an opportunity to meet with various divisions of the company that directly or indirectly touch health and the healthcare industry.
3M does healthcare? I know what you may be thinking. Most of us think of 3M as the company that does Post-it Notes and Scotch Tape. If you think that, you’d be wrong. I guess it should come as no surprise that many people might think that way. After all, Microsoft has had a health industry vertical for more than a dozen years. Yet all too frequently when I hand someone my business card and they read “senior director, worldwide health” I’ll get a comment like, “Oh! Are you the physician responsible for Microsoft’s employee health program?” So even after a history of more than 100 years I guess it is not surprising that 3M, a company that got its start inventing sandpaper, still has an identity problem with its diverse, and frankly amazing portfolio of products and solutions. Yes, 3M does health and healthcare!
I really enjoyed meeting the brilliant engineers and staff behind so many of 3M’s current and future products. From systems engineering and photo electronics to orthodontics, infection control, surgical and wound care products and so much more, 3M goes deeper than you can possibly imagine. It is also a company that is constantly innovating while never forgetting its heritage.
Perhaps the highlight of my visit was a personal tour of the 3M Innovation Center. Not unlike Microsoft’s Executive Briefing Center in Redmond, the 3M Innovation Center is a terrific way to survey the company’s past, present and future. I wish I could write about and share photos of everything I saw, but unfortunately that is not possible. Let me just say you’d be blown away by everything the company is already doing, and how many of the things that you use everyday from your cell phone, to the airplane that brought me home, to the computer I’m writing on, come from 3M. And the products and solutions coming to market in the years ahead……WOW!
We all share a tremendous opportunity, and frankly a responsibility, to innovate in health and healthcare. Billions of people on this earth are counting on us to find better ways to prevent diseases, cure illnesses, eliminate pain and suffering, and improve access to care. We also need solutions to improve care quality, safety and the satisfaction of those receiving and delivering care No one person and no one company can do it alone. But collectively, by sharing best practices, partnering on our strengths, and working toward common goals, we can invent the technologies, products, services, and solutions that will transform health and healthcare delivery around the world.
Bill Crounse, MD Senior Director, Worldwide Health Microsoft