Twenty-nine Chinese hospital administrators spent a recent Monday morning in a Knight Center classroom with WashU Olin’s Barton Hamilton, who shared stories about “the power of pain” as he lectured on managing innovation in the context of healthcare and beyond.
“Entrepreneurship is all about getting people to change from doing one thing to doing something else,” Hamilton, Olin’s Robert Brookings Smith Distinguished Professor of Economics, Management & Entrepreneurship, told the medical professionals from hospitals throughout China.
“This is extremely difficult. In medicine, getting your patient to follow your advice is extremely difficult, even when they’re sick and if they don’t change their behavior they could die,” Hamilton said. “As an entrepreneur, for you to success, you need them to change their behavior and buy your product or your service.”
Hamilton’s lecture on the pain entrepreneurs must demonstrate for potential customers was one class in a special two-week, custom-designed executive education course for the contingent of Chinese healthcare administrators. The program was the first large-scale initiative of its kind built jointly between WashU Olin Business School and the Washington University Medical School.
“It’s a nice representation of our global footprint and it’s a fairly high-profile collaboration with the medical school,” said Patrick Moreton, Professor of Practice in Strategy and Management who organized the course. “It’s something we really want to do more of. We’re using our expertise in China to be a bridge to the healthcare system here and the needs in China.”
Moreton said the medical school team was an active partner in the design of the two-week course, which ran from October 21 to November 1, 2019. The course was offered to members of the China National Health Commission, focusing on “precision healthcare and translational medicine.”
The Chinese visitors spent their mornings in lectures with a variety of Olin faculty who touched on different components of management. Several afternoons, they boarded buses for field trips to a selection of WashU-affiliated med school sites and St. Louis biotech hubs including BioSTL, the WashU telemedicine intensive care unit, the Siteman Cancer Center, St. Louis Children’s Hospital and Barnes Jewish Hospital.
“The content of the morning was about how to put into practice what they were looking at in the afternoons—organizationally in their home institutions,” Moreton said. “We were at the boundary between WashU and the outside world in terms of technology.”
The program had its origins with Eric Jiang, MBA ’04 and vice president of Huici Health Management Co. “He was very interested in connecting health management to WashU,” Moreton said. The medical school recently formed a collaboration with Huici to help with physician training and the design of a new medical center and 1,000-bed hospital in China’s eastern city of Suzhou.
In addition to Moreton and Hamilton, Olin professors who participated in the program included Andrew Knight, who taught a session on “informal leadership”; Peter Boumgarden, focusing on collaboration and teamwork; Lamar Pierce on managing a medical research enterprise; Nick Argyres on managing innovation in therapeutics; Hillary Anger Elfenbein on emotional intelligence; and Panos Kouvelis on operational excellence.
“It’s an expanded collaboration with the medical school. This is the first time we’ve done anything in conjunction with the medical school for another group — and it just happens to be a global group,” said Kelly Bean, senior associate dean and the Charles F. Knight Distinguished Director of Executive Education at WashU Olin. “This is an innovation in executive education. This is another way we’re bringing St. Louis into the world.”
Pictured above: A selection of representatives attending the China National Health Commission training program on precision healthcare and translational medicine.