Git-re Done! The Psychology of Project Completion

Karen Tilstra

Florida Hospital Innovation Lab


Empathy. Failures. Celebrations.



Empathy is important with all internal stakeholders. All parties need to support the change and empathize with the process. Conversation is still the best problem-solving tool. You cannot argue with field insights. Building empathy for the process is critical to the success.


How can you infuse empathy into your process? Getting empathy on innovation projects is not a natural thing—but it sets a straight path to implementation.



Three myths of the modern world:

  1. Nothing is connected
  2. We must know everything before we start
  3. Rational thinking is best


Things that follow these three myths launch everyday, but end up as expensive failures.


What we’ve learned:

  • Everything is connected (ecosystem over ego-system)
  • Don’t have to know everything before you start (fail fast and cheap; you’ll learn faster)
  • Rational thinking is good but not enough (iterate, iterate, iterate)


Our most powerful projects show that there is no hard and fast line between the testing and implementation phase. So, if you think of the system as an ecosystem, you don’t have to be perfect. Implementation works better when more people have had a hand in creating or testing the prototype.




Celebration is the other side of the fail fast and cheap. If we celebrate what’s working, we have found that the teams have more energy and are open to non-stigmatizing failure.



Michael Graber is the managing partner of the Southern Growth Studio, an innovation and strategic growth firm based in Memphis, TN, and the author of Going Electric. Visit to learn more.