Sunday, September 27, 2009

Enabling

Recently at a meeting with a client's team, the head of marketing walked us through what she termed an "niche and untested" product that would help connect the elderly and disabled with an assortment of service providers. I was there to help assess what it would take to set up data analytics for the program but as she went through her presentation, I found my mind drifting further and further away from what was expected from me.

The health care reform debate is on in sober earnest in America and apparently there are many who believe there is nothing broken so bad that needs to be fixed. In that conference room, a group of savvy people had found an opportunity that would feed effortlessly off of a broken system - a slew of such gravy trains abound in this business. They had found a way to wrap the inherently dysfunctional in pretty brochure ware and now they needed a way to measure success and profitability of the enterprise. This is where folks like me came in.

Images of old people pushed to the brink of poverty and general helplessness rushed to mind. Under the pretext of easing their health care burdens we would probably only add to their miseries. Suddenly data and calculations did not feel so sterile anymore. What would constitute success for this group may be at the cost of great hardship to someone who was fighting daily to live as age and disease made it more and more complicated and expensive.

I wondered if I really wanted to a part of this, wondered why such questions would bother me suddenly. It's not like I have worked for charitable and non-profit organizations all my life supporting only virtuous causes. It was not like I was suddenly crossing over to the dark side. I have possibly been there for as long as I have consulted playing my small part in an orchestration of enablement.

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