Title: Weeping Woman
Artist: Pablo Picasso
Medium: Oil on Canvas
Location: Tate Modern, London, UK
Time: 1937
Dimensions: 608 x 500 mm

The first time I became aware of the HIPPO phenomenon in business was around 2000, in one of the companies I worked for. Of course HIPPO is an acronym; it stands for the “Highest Paid Person Opinion”. The company I am referring was a company with decent market share and ample in-house skills, but with a product that had reached obsolescence and to a very large extent was facing a commoditised market. I had an idea about how to pivot that company and restart its growth engine as it rightly deserved. I was convinced that my idea was a good one, assuming it had the backing from the board. Before I presented my idea, I spent time analysing the market and finding the figures to build a proper business case. It was based on the analysis of factual market data and this was the basis for building my arguments. When I was given the floor my 60 minutes presentation was met with much sympathy; I even managed to raise a few eyebrows. But the result was not the implementation of my ideas but instead what the HIPPO proposed. However his ideas were based only on his intuition (and not any data at all) and he went on to justify his proposed strategy on the number of grey hairs he was carrying on his head. To summarise, his idea was to keep on pumping more money into the existing strategy. This HIPPO also had an acute case of Christensen’s “Innovator’s Dilemma” syndrome.


Today I am one of the HIPPOs in my company. My desire is to create processes to de-HIPPO-tise Biotronics3D. I try to build a culture of “Trusting only what your numbers say, NOT what your HIPPOs intuition says”. But my vision and goal also is to help our clients to de-HIPPO-tise their companies. To enable them to take decisions based on real data and not their intuition. And this is what I hope will offer to them.

Take for example the case of one of our customers, a managing director of a small group of imaging clinics in the UK. He recently had a request from two of his clinics to replace their MRI scanners with new ones, but he only had the budget for one this year. How does he know which clinic to favour? The answer is that he doesn’t, unless he has accurate and up to date data for his organisation. Favouring the one that shouts loudest or delivers the best power point presentation is a high risk strategy in my opinion.

I am sure dear reader, at this stage you may quote the “faster horse” statement that Henry Ford once made. To paraphrase, Ford said that if he looked at his data to figure out what people wanted, he would not invent a car but a way to make a horse faster. You may even claim that it is intuition that makes you see “around corners” and helps you innovate and differentiate. If analytics are the bricks of the decision making process, for sure you would say, intuition is the mortar.

But how true is that? Can intuition with no analytics help a group of imaging clinics innovate?

Let us please consider some facts:

To help organisations understand the opportunity of information and advanced analytics, the MIT Sloan Management Review partnered with the IBM Institute for Business Value to conduct a survey of nearly 3,000 executives, managers and analysts working across more than 30 industries and 100 countries. The research was also included a number of US based organisations with medical imaging operations. The key finding was that top-performing organisations use analytics five times more than lower performers with a widespread belief that analytics offers value. The research went even further, attempting to dispel the myth of intuition.  Albert Einstein once referred to intuition as the “real valuable thing”, but, this research found that six out of the ten respondents cited that they use analytics extensively to innovate and achieve competitive differentiation.

We found that organisations who strongly agreed that the use of business information and analytics differentiates them within their industry were twice as likely to be top performers as lower performers.

The research goes even further and attempts to classify all companies in 3 classes in terms of analytics adoption, and how prepared they are to turn challenges into opportunities.

Aspirational. These organisations are the farthest from achieving their desired analytical goals. In Medical Imaging, often they would adopt a traditional PACS and try to focus on efficiency or automation of existing processes, and searching for ways to cut costs. “Do the same for less” seems to be the way of operating. Aspirational organisations currently have few of the necessary building blocks – people, processes or tools – to collect, understand, incorporate or act on analytic insights.

Experienced. Having gained some analytic experience – often through successes with efficiencies at the Aspirational phase – these organisations are looking to go beyond cost management. “Do more with less” is the way they operate. Experienced organisations are developing better ways to effectively collect, incorporate and act on analytics so they can begin to optimise their organisations.

Transformed. These organisations have substantial experience using analytics across a broad range of functions. They use analytics as a competitive differentiator and are already adept at organising people, processes and tools to optimise and differentiate. Transformed organisations are less focused on cutting costs than Aspirational and Experienced organisations, possibly having already automated their operations through effective use of insights. They are most focused on driving profitability and taking strategic decisions as they keep pushing the organisational envelope.

When I read this analysis, my thoughts went to the three stages of Medical Imaging evolution I presented in my last blog. Phase 1, the golden era of PACS, is really all about “Aspirational” health organisations. Phase 2, the era of enterprise imaging, and as PACS became clinical norm, is all about “Experienced” healthcare organisations. However, phase 3, the evolutionary phase where big data changed Radiology and medical imaging, is all about “Transformed” organisations.

In Biotronics3D we came with the idea and had the vision to help our customers thought this evolution. In this process I think we will murder their HIPPOs and help them substantially outperform their industry peers. I am fully convinced that this performance advantage will come from the potential rewards of using our .