Greetings. If you happened to read the New York Times last Wednesday, you might have noticed a fascinating article about a new idea that could save the lives of countless newborns in developing countries and significantly reduce the number of births by cesarean section in affluent ones. An idea that also tells us a lot about the process of innovation and role that casting a wider net and then making powerful connections plays.

The idea is called the “Odon Device” and it is designed as a tool for those times in childbirth when babies get stuck in the birth canal. But it wasn’t created by a doctor or a leading medical device company or research lab. Instead, it was developed by an Argentine automotive mechanic named Jorge Odon who was inspired, subconsciously it seems, after watching a YouTube video of someone extracting a cork stuck in a wine bottle. It was a simple trick that led him in a dream (or waking from a dream) to make a direction connection with the challenge posed by obstructed labor “when a baby’s head is too large or an exhausted mother’s contractions stop” and baby and mother are quickly at great risk. Using his device, “an attendant slips a plastic bag inside a lubricated plastic sleeve around the head, inflates it to grip the head and pulls the bag until the baby emerges.” It is a very promising alternative to the more traditional and potentially hazardous use of forceps or suctions cups or simply doing nothing in cases and places where C-sections are not an option.

You can learn more about this breakthrough in the NYTimes article. And you and your colleagues might also use this story as a powerful reminder that we all have the ability to be curious, make new connections, and put ideas together that at first blush don’t seem to belong. Ideas sparked by strangers in another aspect of life that might cause us to think in new ways about the challenges faced by us or others.

Ideas that matter.

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We win in business, healthcare, and life when make powerful connections…even when those connections are in our dreams.

Cheers!