When I was watching the Olympics, I thought a lot about time. Nothing highlights the importance of time quite like the Olympics, where so much comes down to seconds. Katie Ledecky just set a world record for the 800m freestyle; second place was nearly 12 seconds behind her. To most of us, what’s 12 seconds?
In the 100m dash, the difference between the gold medal and last place is usually less than half a second, yet that sliver of time will define a person for the rest of his or her life.
At the Regional One Health Center for Innovation, we talk as much about where innovation can happen as when it can happen. It’s not just about having something happen at the right time. It’s also about making the time.
We’ve all heard about the importance of seizing every moment of every day. My own mother and grandmother impressed this on me as a child. As we get older, time flies by faster. In the Olympics of our lives, it feels like every second matters more, especially as we layer marriage, children, career, community, and other life experiences.
Whether we are entrepreneurs or employees at a major company, in most cases our time is dictated by the environment around us.
When it comes to the work we do in innovation, we have to remember that true innovation can be born in just a single moment—if we just remember to take the time. I have heard people tell me they don’t have time to be innovative. They are too busy putting out the fires of day-to-day operations.
We have to remind ourselves to find the time. Take a moment of quiet, a moment of reflection, a moment to remove ourselves from the daily grind in order to make life better for us and the patients. Innovation happens because we are in that moment. We can’t spend all our time waiting for the right moment. We have to claim that time.