Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Standards work is motivating because it gets used and improves lives

The presentation by Dan Pink on 'what really motivates us' was posted again to Google+ today. When people ask me why I participate in standards, I have always given the answer "because it is really cool to see what you do implemented and saving lives.". Dan provides me the background as to why this works.
This is exactly why I work on Standards in Healthcare. What I create is used by others, and my motivation is to see the change. To know that peoples lives are saved, made better, made less painful, made better. This is why I blog, this is why I am so passionate at educating and outreach. This is why I will help a competitor understand something. This is why I subject myself over and over again to help people 'not reinvent the wheel.'

This is also why it annoys me when the standards organization calls these 'products' and charges $$ to use them. I want my work to be used, more than I want to be paid to create the work.This is why I am more creative working for DICOM or IHE; and more satisfied when those works are used. I think HL7 should think about this, how much more creative could the HL7 standards be?

As Dan says in the presentation, in order to get to this state one must be paid enough money to get money off-the-table. This is why I unabashedly working for GE Healthcare, and I have no problem with the fact that an organization brings together people that create using one motivation, with people who do mechanical (manufacturing) work with a different motivation, to produce value. This is what a vendor does, put together the whole-package.

Yet I have the best of both worlds, as I get to see GE Healthcare create value and deploy it; but as a standards developer I also get the pleasure out of others using these same standards.

The open-source community is missing this whole-package, yes the creative part is free (somehow the participants have achieved the money off-the-table state); but there is no-one there to finish the job. Hence why open-source doesn't dominate as it should, if one looks only at the technology (the creative part). This is niche is being filled to some degree by enterprising organizations that take the free creative-part and do the rest. But they will never 'own' their own destiny.