Kampen on Karolinska: Konsulterna by Anna Gustafsson and Lisa Röstlund

If you haven’t read the book Kampen om Karolinska: Konsulterna (the battle of Karolinska: The Consultants) and you work with eHealth or health care – you should definitely read it!

The book is written by two journalists working at DN which is one of the large high quality newspapers in Sweden. There has also been a large series of articles in DN related to Nya Karolinska. In short the building of this hospital has cost Sweden billions of money and there are numerous scandals along the way. Today the hospital still has a serious crisis as staff has quit, patients have died and very few people admit to have had the responsibility for the situation.

When writing the book the authors have done more than 200 interviews, read thousands of documents and spent several years understanding the process. In the book they have chosen to present their findings through stories from interviews and the book has a long list of references,

Others have also found this book interesting and Läkartidningen writes: “A book that ought to be a compulsory read”. Managers and leaders in health care should read this book, according to Läkartidningen.

In short the book is about the building of a new university hospital in Stockholm, New Karolinska Hospital, and the events related to management and organisations that is quite a horrible read.

Five things I found especially interesting while reading was:

    Boston Consulting Group earned enormous money from the implementation of management ideas that were really not very well tested at all. Moreover, many of the consultants had no experience from health care and were very young. They have 16 000 employees in 50 countries. I think academia have problems with impact in health care with research results, but obviously these people had no problems with impact at all. What did they do to be heard and listened to?
    Some of the ideas from Value Based Care are indeed good, such as a focus on patient’s values. However, they seem no to dominante the processes when implemented and many of the managers seems to have forgotten the patients in the change process. In the summer of 2017 60 cancer patients at Karolinska did not get their surgery on time! A result from money connected to patient value could be that areas where patients are quite well will have high numbers on satisfaction/value and hence get more money whereas hospitals treating people with multiple and complex problems would get less money.
    The ideas with metrics based control in their management strategy is indeed crazy, and I don’t understand how this idea could continue to be attraktive after the failures of new public management? When measuring there is a risk that people pay more attention to what is possible to measure independently on if it is important or not. Things that are not possible to measure will be seen as less important.
    A process oriented organisation without clinics seems really risky to implement. Where did they get this idea from, and how could they base the management strategy on the core idea that one patient has one decease when we know that there is is large group of patients that has multiple deceases?
    There is an interesting tension between the laws in health care and innovation. Some of the things they implemented at Karolinska was really illegal and did not for example comply with GDPR. However, I also think that sometimes the laws need to be tested as they are not really made for a digitalized society.

Gender Mainstreaming in Academia – the Wonder Project

My colleagues Robin Strand (head of division), Ginevra Castellano (the Equal Opportunities Officer at the Department) and I (deputy head of division) has received funding within gender mainstreaming from the central university. Giulia Perugia is also on the team and together we will work with making a difference in this area.

The project is called WONDER (WOrk eNvironment aND wEllbeing) and is an organisational development project. We will work with health promotion and work environment improvement measures for everyone and with particular focus on the group of doctoral students and young researchers at the unit. And from a gender perspective

The first part focuses on working environment and health with five seminar opportunities on preventing stress, depression and stress in relation to gender. We will also invite an stress expert to do workshops with us.

Part two focuses on inclusive leadership. We shall, among other things, develop a strategy for sustainable leadership, develop a policy for how internal resources are distributed so that, for example, the distribution of faculty resources and workload becomes transparent and can be followed up.  We will improve their information dissemination with skills-enhancing seminars, which in turn will result in a strategy for inclusive communication.

Celebrating Finishing my 10th Leadership Course

I have soon finished my 10th leadership course. I have also signed up for the 11th course and awaiting to see if I am accepted.

Why do I want to attend this many leadership courses?

Well, perhaps I am a slow learner? Or perhaps I need more courses in this than an ordinary researcher? Or perhaps I aim for a higher leadership position in Academia? The answer to all these questions is NO. 

The reasons for me to take so many leadership courses are many and here are the most central ones:

  • I change, and my life changes. There is always a new learning experience opportunity. The courses gives be a broader understanding of people and life. I am very interested in understanding people. And I never seem know all there is to know.
  • I deepen my understanding at every course. I can feel as if I am in an unstable state when it comes to some learning experiences. I do understand them at some point, but my understanding is not stable and I haven’t passed the threshold for really knowing them. One such area is for example being a middle manager and handling strange new decisions.
  • I love the discussions with other people that are interesting in leadership. Often leadership courses build on the idea of peer learning, and that works excellently for me!
  • I think that the course give me time to reflect on all kinds of different things.

 

About Talent Management

I have just read a super interesting book that I strongly recommend. The book is called “Talang för människor”. The author, Kajsa Asplund, is a trained psychologist and has a PhD in business administration. Her research at the Stockholm School of Economics focuses on the effects of talent management on employee motivation, self-image and loyalty.

_talang-for-manniskor-psykologin-bakom-framgangsrik-talent-management

Talent management is a phenomenon that includes all kinds of ways an organisation works with attracting, identifying and retaining competent people. It is outside my research, but can be seen as a part of our research on professional competencies. Also,  I am interesting in this book from a leadership perspective.

The book is not about academia  but is more general and when reading about the book I was thinking what the equivalent of “talent management” would be in academia? We have a very harsh culture, very gendered but there are indeed some people that are seen as more talented and get more salary than the rest.

The word talent is used in a variety of ways and can mean all people in an organisation, or just an exclusive few.

Some of the things I found interesting and that I would guess are transferrable to academia are:

  • In the future you need even more enable and empower people – no detailed micro management control.
  • People who are appointed talents in an organisation often experience that their expectations of the organisation increase. Somehow being labelled as a talent in any way makes people aware of the relationship with the organisation: What the work includes and what they get back for example. One interesting possible reaction is working less hard, increased cynicism, negative attitudes. One quite common reaction to being labelled as talent is actually to look for another job!
  • Many who are appointed talents look towards the global  market and start comparing what they have with other “talents” globally.
  • People who are appointed talents often become less motivated by the core business, and look towards management roles instead.

From the book it is clearly possible to say that talent management is complicated and it does not always go hand in hand with an engaged and motivated staff.

 

Interviews with Academic Leaders

I’m attending a leadership programme at the university this spring. This is the 10th leadership course I attend. I really like reflecting on leadership and change management, and I think that I learn new things in every course since life is constantly changing. One day I will be as wise as the owl in the blog post illustration, and those I interviewed are truly my role models and inspiration.

As a part of this course I was given the opportunity to interview three good leaders that I could think of. I chose thee that I have as role models in different ways.

A common theme in the interviews I did was feeling safe and leadership. The first person emphasised that we are each other’s work environment linked to feeling safe and secure. It is important to positively give feedback to each other, to create a team feeling and encourage people in everyday life. You need to create a safe environment where people dare to be creative and make mistakes. I think that if people feel insecure, they do not dare to be brave and try to solve challenges or take on new tasks.

Feeling safe is also linked to how mistakes are received, the person I interviewed pointed out, and how to act as a leader when someone makes a mistake. If you see it as an opportunity for learning, you create a safe environment, but if you see mistakes as something consistently negative, you create uncertainty.
Person number two had a different perspective on security and talked a lot about safe relationships, mutual trust and trust. This person told me that you do not always need to be right, but that you should be safe enough to let others be the most knowledgeable and work independently.

In addition, this person pointed out that if you have mutual trust, it means that you do not have detailed control, but trust that people do their best and you hear from them if they need support in any way. In this interview, we also talked about the situation that there is no mutual trust and trust. The interviewee believe that leaders need to accept that it does not always work with mutual trust and trust in all situations. Sometimes the best thing to do is to invest in having a long distance according to the interviewee.

Person number three talked about feeling safe linked to listening, and believes that a consistent theme in successful leadership is to try to understand what the other really mean. This includes trying to be permissive and curious when listening and accepting people as they are through active listening. As leaders, we need to be aware of listening strategies and use methods such as mirroring, follow-up questions and other parts of active listening. In all difficult conversations you need to have a polite tone and be interested in understanding other people’s experiences and perspectives.

You also need to create a feeling of security through participation and equal conditions and not run people over with new decisions – you need to have a culture of participation. This person stressed that you should aim at not seeing the opinions and thoughts of other people as threats, but let things take time in change management.
I think my three leadership interviews were really interesting and educational. And I love management and leadership courses. I have signed up for yet another course this fall. That one is about being the formal leader and has different parts about economy, legal issues etc.

Lecturing about Gender in IT at a PhD Summers School on Virtual Characters & Computer Game Technologies

I have been invited as a teacher to a summer school on Virtual Characters & Computer Game Technologies organised by Animatas.  Animatas is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions project that aims to give researchers the necessary skills and international experience for a successful career. Animatas stands for Advancing intuitive human-machine interaction with human-like social capabilities for education in schools. The summer school is organised by my colleague at the department Ginevra Castillano. 

My topic for the summer school is on gender equality in academia and the work environment, and I will talk about my experiences as a woman in computing and also some things from carreers in technology from the NordWit Centre of Excellence.

You can read more about the summer school here:

http://www.animatas.eu/

 

 

New Project – Methods for a Better Digital Work Environment

Marta Larusdottir and Åsa Cajander received funding from AFA for a project called Software Development for a Better Work Environment (the STRIA project). The project will run from May 2019 to May 2022.

Here is a text presenting the project. The text is a translation from an AFA article found here: https://www.afaforsakring.se/forskning/forskarportratt/asa-cajander/

IT systems in health and medical care cause both physical and psychosocial work environment problems, but this is rarely considered when developing computer systems. Åsa Cajander, researcher at Uppsala University, will study the digital work environment in healthcare and administration and further develop three methods for system development.

– Earlier research on how to work in IT projects shows that one rarely or never thinks of work environment consequences, says Åsa Cajander, professor of human-computer interaction at Uppsala University.

– We will map the digital work environment in health care and in administrative work and look at how the latest technology affects the working environment. We plan to look more closely at automation and artificial intelligence.

Åsa Cajander worked as an IT consultant before she began researching digitization and work environment issues in 2002. She has, among other things, participated in a research project on digitization and health in the state and has an ongoing project on nurses’ digital work environment. Now she is going to investigate how to get the work environment perspective already in the development of computer systems.

– There are methods within system development that consider usability. The three methods that are most popular today are one that is based on personas, one that is called think aloud and a so-called heuristic evaluation, where one evaluates interfaces based on certain rules of thumb, says Åsa Cajander.

– We have chosen to try to further develop these three methods together with system developers in workshops and with the help of interviews. The idea is that we should include work environment issues in the toolbox used when working with IT development.

Examination of digital work environment in healthcare

The next step in the project is to investigate the digital work environment in health care and in administrative professions. Åsa Cajander and her colleagues will study how employees within both healthcare and administration work with IT systems and how it affects their work environment.

– We plan to study the digital work environment in Region Uppsala, both in healthcare and in other parts of their business. We also have contacts in Uppsala municipality and in Region Stockholm and hope to do the same there. We may supplement this with studies of the working environment within the administration at a university in Iceland and Uppsala, where one of my colleagues has contacts.

What do you hope for from the project?

– This project has an unusual component and it is that we cooperate with Prevent. They will be involved during the project and then they will receive and manage the results, that is, the further developed methods and a training material we will develop on how to work with the methods.

– Prevent will use our results in their education. It will also be a web education material on their website. I hope for the idea that someone takes care of the research results and markets it, manages it and ensures that it is used. I hope that this can contribute to real change in the field of digital work environment.

What got you from the beginning interested in digital work environment?

– I worked as a consultant around the year 2000 at a large international IT company and saw the consequences of the IT systems out in the workplaces. I saw the users’ frustration, I saw the technostress and how it affected the work structure and work processes. And I really wanted to try to help solve that problem and try to make the digital work environment better, says Åsa Cajander.

 

Super Nice Surprise by the Equal Opportunities Team at the Department

I have been the Equal Opportunities Officer at the department for a few years. This role has included working with a team of people from administrative staff, technical staff and representatives from the five different divisions. The department has a strong focus on equal opportunities, and have a very ambitious yearly plan about the work. The team has been amazing in this work. We have had a very positive and creative atmosphere, and I have put quite a lot of effort into doing a good job.

A few weeks back I was honorary discharged of the role. I have been given the opportunity to work as deputy head of division, and I felt like it was two much keeping both roles.

The equal opportunities team surprised me early one Monday morning and handed over a painting that they had made. On the painting they had written encouraging and super nice things thanking me for my efforts. I must say that I was really very surprised and happy about this. We are not especially good at showing appreciation at the department, and this was indeed not expected.  Now I have the nice painting hanging on the wall in my office that reminds about equal opportunities and gender equality.

I will have the possibility to thank everyone on the equal opportunities team on an international celebration’s day that is organised by Virginia Grande Castro and others. Anyone is welcome to attend! You can read more here:

http://www.it.uu.se/about_us/equality/international_celebration

 

 

Participated in Panel about AI and Digitalisation and the Impact on Work and Working Life

Several people from my research group participated in a discussion about AI and digitalisation and the impact on work and working life. The picture is from See invitation below:

Inbjudan AI AW 5.4.19

One thing that I found interesting that one person on the panel talked about was that Amazon and Walmart nowadays has stores that eliminates the need for human cashiers, or cash payments. In the Amazon store cameras with computer vision and facial recognition technology in combination with automatic sensors, keep track of the items customers take from shelves. When you are ready to check out they automatically pay with a registered credit or debit card inside the Amazon Go mobile app. For more info see for example: https://www.chainstoreage.com/technology/tech-viewpoint-amazon-vs-walmart-the-battle-of-ai-based-future-store-strategies/

There are indeed success stories related to digitalisation, but another interesting discussion was related to why is so difficult to develop and implement new technology and all the major failures that we face in Sweden. One failure that was mentioned was Arbetsförmedlingen (The Government Organsiation responsibility for work) where 13000 emloyees had their education in the new system, and the plan to save 170 MSEK/year failed completely and ended up in a law suit. See here: https://www.svd.se/it-fiasko-for-arbetsformedlingen