The last post sounded like I had closed that chapter. It was good to leave it for a while, but I had to look at the tangle of emotions again.

So I did. I started putting thoughts on a Miro board. Things I am sure of, things I know, things I was researching while I was going along. I kept reading studies and I kept thinking and feeling and I kept reading some more.

What I was not sure of was how to talk about what happened to me.

I kept rearranging virtual post-it notes until they were telling a story.

The narrative for all my hurt that I have arrived at is that I did not accept that things have to be as they are, so the organisation dealt with me by activating its immune system.

Which, surprisingly, is a thing. I haven’t invented it. Obviously I wasn’t actively aware of the concept at the time. But then, could I have acted any differently? I had to try and solve those problems, and when there were no solutions, I had to keep doing my thing. I wasn’t saying “things are so much better elsewhere” (ok, maybe I was saying that a bit but then their own ministry is saying to them that they need to become more agile and innovative as an organisation. Even creating a new law, because they are resisting so hard.) The mere fact that the answer I got when asking about this was “we don’t do that here” is weird. No, you are doing it, by actively resisting you show how you are doing it.

Then my goal was to try to find proof that the suggestions I made – open communications and systemic empathy – are a part of being an agile, innovative organisation, and that case managers already exist elsewhere, so aren’t just my idea for an improvement either. Another goal was to talk about my feeling that they could do really well with some of the bits of innovative culture I have experienced. I mean they are innovating, they have complexity to deal with, they have uncertainty, they do deal with a lot of change in their daily lives, whenever there is new research, there is change. And hey, curing cancer is hard, change is hard, why not just be open about it? Why should a cancer ward work according to some ancient industrial operational model?

I remember thinking actually, isn’t this exactly what the drive of the federal health ministry to make every hospital embrace innovation is about? They probably have plans for creating and supporting this culture change. Maybe I don’t need to work so hard, just point our prof in the right direction. Then I started reading the law and contacting various suppliers and the ministry to find out what this support was going to be like.

An answer from someone at the supplier of the new infrastructure: The new technology will be accepted automatically because it is clear that it will improve things.

That was an interesting development.

As of today, 12 July 2020, it still seems that even though many other sectors have shown that throwing technology at an organisation does not change its culture – that requires intentional effort -, in healthcare that seems to be the strategy.

I’ve made a German language pitch deck, on the off chance of ever being able to speak to any of the medical professionals for long enough to actually talk about anything. I do want to speak to them though. I want to give something back and this is the best thing I can give back. It sounds mad but if you see something like this, shouldn’t you speak up? Especially when you are already kinda involved with the exactly right people?

Because – and here is where the ridiculous idea comes in – since we are dealing with an immune system, the oncologists are the first to explain to you that even though, for example, stem cells are a VERY GOOD THING, you can’t just add them to a body for it to get better. The process of first driving down the immune system, introducing the new thing, carefully supporting its learning to function, having the immune system come up again with a lot of care and attention to give the body its resilience back – maybe that’s not that different from what an organisation needs in order to change.

And since there seem to be no plans for any support of any culture change right now, or even any conversation, any awareness of this transformation side of “digital transformation”, we need to get that support sorted.

So at least we are approaching the issue based on current knowledge of the subject, not with the idea that hardware and software will sort it all out. (Remember when the approach to social media was “We let the intern handle it”? This is like that, only a lot worse.)

So my pitch deck is called Stammzellsangria. Because of course it is.

I still have the bigger, messier English language presentation online as well.

I am currently on a break again because I do tend to get a bit obsessive about these things, I am aware of that, and I’d like to apologise to everyone I’ve messaged about it.