New Models 5

Breaking Log Jams I & II November 29, 2011, May 15, 2012

Many of the societal issues, which were seen to have reached an impasse when MIT Collaborative Initiatives started seven years ago, are still challenging our leadership and economy today. Change seems to be impeded by log jams of ideology and conflicting incentives.

MIT-CI has applied a systems approach, inherent to architecture and engineering, to a number of test cases in healthcare to see if this approach can
 translate from industrial applications to societal challenges. We have looked at Stroke, Obesity and Post-Traumatic Stress through this lens with surprising results.

New Models 5: Breaking Log Jams I & II provided a forum for discussion and debate on the value of systems thinking and collaboration in breaking through log jams to effective action. They highlighted MIT-CI's experience as well as models of successful application and difficulties of this approach in business, government, the U.S. Military and healthcare.

Each meeting was focused on interactive discussion with presentations aimed at highlighting different fields.  Several themes emerged from the series, which identified and challenged a number of specific log jams.

On November 29 the discussion centered on the need for innovation in addressing some of the most pressing log jams facing our society and the inherent difficulties in innovating in an environment of uncertainty and limited resources.

The following is a list of some of the main take-aways from the day:

  1. Prevention was the elephant in the room, not just for health issues but using foresight to plan for inevitable change
  2. Need for young entrepreneurs to hear what was being said in the room
  3. Innovation stems from leaders who are willing to adopt change, accept risk, recognize and learn from failure, reward success – need strong leaders to drive innovation
  4. Cross boundary (gov't, business, non-profit – across departments – across specialties and areas of expertise – across viewpoints) collaboration is critical
  5. Needs to be a "space" for innovation, often too busy reacting to innovate and adopt change
  6. Innovation stems from people
  7. Role of data? Need supporting data, must challenge data, don't want to get too hung up on data
  8. Need to provide ways to innovate through action – learn through doing
  9. Listen to the people you are trying to serve
  10. Innovation, Good outcomes – should be expected not exception

The May 15 meeting was focused on specific log jams, some that have been overcome and some that are still posing a challenge.  Examples ranged from Stroke and Homelessness to the seeming stalemate in government. 

Two questions acted as the centerpiece for the day’s discussion: Do you need a crisis to break through deep seated log jams? : Does effective collaboration and compromise require a “winner” and “loser?”

Agendas and Synopses

NM5 – Breaking Log Jams, November 29, 2011

Photo Gallery

NM5 – Breaking Log Jams, May 15, 2012

Photo Gallery

Video Presentations

NM5, November 29, 2011 | Opening remarks/Stroke Update

NM5, November 29, 2011 | Gary Hirshberg


NM5, November 29, 2011 | NIRF


NM5, November 29, 2011 | Admiral Michael Mullen


NM5, November 29, 2011 | PTSI


NM5, November 29, 2011 | The Honorable Michael Bloomberg