Behind the scenes: Taking a Mayo idea to the Mall of America

Case study shows how Rochester, Minn., system brings innovation to scale

Topics: Process Improvement, Management Tools, Performance Improvement, Return on Investment, Continuum Integration, Methodologies, Patient-Focused Care, Screening and Prevention, Access to Care, Quality, Service

January 11, 2012

Innovation experts at Rochester, Minn.-based Mayo Clinic are following a four-stage plan to launch a new retail storefront in the Mall of America, according to a new case study profile.

Mayo in August opened the "Create Your Mayo Clinic Health Experience" store, a first-floor store at the Twin Cities megamall that sells Mayo Clinic cookbooks, offers wellness programs, and provides telemedicine services. Customers are invited to use 3-D computer monitors, kiosks, and "navigator specialists" to assess their health and develop wellness programs. 

How Mayo incubates ideas
The project was developed by the Office of Business Development, one of Mayo's four operating units devoted to developing innovative projects. Specifically, OBD is tasked with identifying emerging opportunities—oftentimes entirely new businesses—to expand Mayo's revenue streams beyond clinical practice, research, and education.

In a case study series from the California HealthCare Foundation, OBD Director Ronald Amodeo outlines the four stages of a Mayo pilot project and how the Mall of America project moved through each step:

    1. The "fit" stage, when officials determine whether the project aligns with Mayo missions and is likely to succeed;
    2. The business planning stage, when officials draft a business case and financial model for board approval;
    3. The execution stage, when officials create a strategy for bringing the approved project to market; and
    4. The performance stage, when officials monitor the pilot project and prepare it for replication.
  • See what hospitals can do to spark creative thinking and spur innovation.

Amodeo notes that Mayo officials consider the scope of the idea throughout the project. "The answer to the question 'How do you scale innovation?' is imbedded in our entire process," he says. When assessing the Mall of America project, OBD officials found that it fit six of the eight questions critical to completing the fit stage. Those questions included:

  • Does the project align with Mayo's core values and strategic plans? 
  • Does it add value to the Mayo brand?
  • Does it provide a competitive advantage?
  • Can Mayo mitigate the risks of failure? 
  • Will it deliver good educational returns? 
  • Is it scalable?

The two questions left unanswered were:

  • Does it leverage core resources and capabilities?
  • Will it deliver good financial returns?

OBD decided to proceed with the project, which now is in the stage three "execution" phase. However, Amodeo warns that the transition from stages three to four creates a high failure risk because the knowledge and success of the startup teams cannot always be translated to the expansion teams (California HealthCare Foundation case study, January 2012).

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