A mentor around every corner

Last week in California, I got to do two things I’ve wanted to do for some time: experience innovation with my primary work team, and walk with Becca Camp (@beccacamp).

The innovation part happened when the most excellent Communications team for The Permanente Federation, Kaiser Permanente’s Innovation Consultancy, and I collaborated to change the way we communicated at our semi-annual organization wide meeting.

With the support of our leadership, we changed our regular Forum into an un-Forum, complete with an open space technology component, which allowed the staff to build and own the agenda in real time, and then discuss the topics of greatest interest.

I found myself in a discussion about Jack Cochran, MD’s recent trip to Tanzania, one of many he takes regularly, to donate his skills as a plastic surgeon, to those in need (Jack’s written a blog post about his work, here). It was a great way to connect to our leader. When we asked about the most important lessons learned from his experiences, he told us,”there’s a mentor around every corner.”

The next day, I met Becca for our walking meeting, in the heart of San Francisco, at BrainWash cafe. It was a long time coming, after several interactions on Twitter (however I am comforted by the fact that she’s been working with the great @vmontori and @davidrosenman from Mayo…).

We dialogued about her ideas for health care and her future, all while she was showing me the neighborhood (“BrainWash cafe is where the UI/UX people hang out, the venture people hang out across the street (at Radius)). We walked through Radius ( @radiussf ), where it was explained to me that everything served there is sourced within 100 miles of the restaurant.

I never would have known this culture existed; I think I learned more from Becca than she from me (that’s the perception I like to have from every interaction :)).

In thinking about what advice I would give her in terms of the next steps in her bright future, it was the advice Jack gave me the day before, “there’s a mentor around every corner.”

Pictures from our innovative day and the mentor around the corner for me below. Click to enlarge.

[miniflickr photoset_id=”72157626325949589″]Photos of/from mentor around every corner[/miniflickr]

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Ted Eytan, MD