Healthcare as an infinite game

This week on our blog I wrote a piece exploring the idea that health is not a zero sum game. I thought I’d explore that a bit further here in the community.

The concept of finite vs infinite games was described in the 80s by a guy named James Carse, an (athiest) religious scholar who used game theory to explore social behaviours. It’s been brought to the fore more recently by Simon Sinek in his book The Infinite Game. He explains one of the concepts, worthy rivals, in the 5 min clip below :point_down:

Sinek talks about this mostly within a business context, but I think there are some pretty important applications within healthcare. Here are my main takeaways…

  • no-one ‘wins’ healthcare
  • comparing ourselves to others we consider our competitors is not constructive and doesn’t make us feel good
  • comparing ourselves to others we consider worthy rivals can be constructive - it either points us toward areas for growth, or opportunities for collaboration and mutual gains

In terms of healthcare, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with taking pride in your professional discipline, or being an advocate for your particular specialty, sector etc. But when this crosses over to professional tribalism and one up-manship (as it so often does), it erodes our progress toward delivering better care.

What sort of worthy professional rivals do you have? Do you use them to push yourself to be better, or do you team up with them and collaborate?

It’s like pornography.
Hard to define - but you know it when you see it.
That’s why it’s important to get out of the silos…and find those worthy professional rivals.

You don’t ‘win’ healthcare - you just get to keep playing.

Do I use these worthy professional rivals to push myself to be better or do I team up with them and collaborate?

Why not both?

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