Logan Brigman is a Digital Native who works as a Product Manager for [m]pirik, a healthcare technology company focusing on measuring and improving value in orthopedics. This start-up operates on a single platform, [m]pirik gathers and analyzes orthopedic data, standardizes patient communication and provides the tools necessary to improve patient outcomes.

Audrey McGuckin (AM) – Logan, tell me about your role at [m]pirik?

Logan Brigman (LB) – I’m a Product Manager, but I really work across all the facets of the business, which is the great thing about working in a start-up. It’s about taking in all data surrounding surgical procedures, figuring out correlations and then working towards patient outcome improvement and operational efficiencies. The really fun part is what I do ranges from interacting with the end customer to product development with software developers. I’m mainly focused on guiding the strategy of the product. I’m out there talking to physicians, nurses and other leaders in healthcare to bring the insights from them back to our developers. We translate the clinical world into new features as well as an opportunity to test and implement changes within the product. It’s a great experience because I get to see our product in action by all the medical staff in the field and return to the product group to modify and improve our ideas.

AM – What are digital trends that you’re seeing from a technology perspective?

LB – Yeah, I personally love Blockchain technology. If you are familiar with any crypto-currencies such as Bitcoin, Blockchain is the underlying technology that makes it so attractive. Blockchain is an immutable, distributed ledger that can provide the trust, transparency and security not seen before in many of the industries it is starting to disrupt. For example, IBM’s Global Finance division uses their own Blockchain-as-a-Service to settle financial disputes with great success thus far. Walmart trialing the use of Blockchain to take on food safety. Tracing ea
ch food item back to its source and every step along the way could prove to be the answer to providing strategic removals for recalls among other auditing capabilities.

LB – This is so classic for our generation. We’re all about transparency and trust in all aspects of our lives and that’s what makes Blockchain a really exciting technology.

AM – Logan, what do you see as the biggest threats from digital?
LB – I think it’s privacy. I often ask myself “have we given up on privacy”? Alexa is a great example. I hear a lot of people saying, “I don’t want this device hearing me all the time in the privacy of my home”. More and more I’ve been diving into cyber security almost out of necessity due to the rapid changes with Internet of Things(IoT) devices, drones and technology as a whole taking over. Think about drones or the cameras and microphones on those IoT devices, think about what they could do from a malicious perspective. How do we stop the intrusive nature of ubiquitous eyes and ears of digital?  Public policy is continuously falling farther and farther behind technology. Early adopters are already way out there and we don’t have rules or laws to keep up with technology. It’s moving too fast for policy makers, or rather they aren’t moving fast enough. The problem with the speed of penetration in privacy and security is that we will have lost our ability to return to a secure and private space within the near future.

AM – I recently interviewed another Digital Native who works at Amazon, Ryan Pickren. He talked about cyber security. I also just read a recent release from Harvard Business Review on Cyber Security. What’s your views on this Logan?

LB – I’ve attended a number of conferences lately, mainly about hacking and cyber security. It’s pretty scary what people can do. A simple hack is to mimic the wifi hotspot of popular places with free wifi such as, Starbucks and can quickly get access to your phone because most people have wifi networks “auto-join” setting on and you’ll connect to their fake wifi endpoint. In general the reliance on technology will continue to grow and with the rapid pace of advances, it will be hard to keep up with securing everything.

AM – What other trends are you seeing that could pose potential threats?

LB – Artificial Intelligence. I recently read in Wired Business Journal, how Microsoft had to take down its system “Teen AI” system within 12 hours. People were teaching it to be racist. AI has the ability to learn and can be trained to be malicious. Again, we have technology galloping in front of any policy or legitimate examination of potential misuse.

AM – Logan, the more I talk with Digital Natives like yourself, the more I realize that individuals are leading the charge beyond organizations in our behaviors. I think about how we consume information in our personal lives, particularly digital natives; through Snapchat, Instagram, LinkedIn etc . The immediate consumption of information. Yet in many organizations, you have to wait until the information is created, proofed, authorized through the communications department, loaded on the web and then suddenly it’s 30 days old.  What do you believe organizations need to focus on to catch up with the “technology curve”?

LB – One of the interesting initiatives I experienced in a previous organization, was a “no rules skunk work” approach. I was part of a team that had to leverage technology to come up with new and innovative ideas to solve organizational problems. Uninhibited skunk works can keep organizations quickly moving up the technology curve. Blogging about the innovative work you’re doing also allows organizations to move faster. The engineers I work with, they look at new companies to see how they’re approaching technology and if the company is willing to move quickly. We have a really empowering President at [m]pirik, he’s a surgeon and not a techno-crat. We’re allowed to just “get it done”. We can select the most up to date technology to get work done faster while continuously attracting top talent that enjoys working on new technology. Millennials are looking for freedom of technology choice. They’re curious about technology and its many applications to enhancing the world. They want to curate a story with technology. It’s like being a digital artist. That’s the stuff we get excited about. When you have really great talent in an organization this keeps you modern. In order to attract and keep great talent you need to have an environment that’s open, flexible and innovative.

AM – Can you give me an example of flexibility inside an organization Logan?

LB – Yeah. When I think about my work style, I know exactly when I’m most productive. I often work from 7 or 8 in the morning till 3 in the afternoon. At 3pm I’ll often go home to take a break, go for a walk and then start working again later in the evening. If I’m bound by organizational constraints of being in the office for set hours, then I’m less productive, less creative and have less energy. None of this is good for our business. There’s a “but” in all of this though, and that’s trust. It’s a big factor. Our boss trusts that we’ll get the work done and so far, I’ve seen nothing but just that. On the one hand, digital natives want openness, trust and flexibility but on the other hand they need to hold up their side of the bargain. They can’t breach that trust.

AM – I’m still curious Logan about the environment that helps organizations move up the technology curve and would love to hear more from you.

LB – Spotify is an interesting organization in how they organize their engineering teams. They set up “spotify tribes”. It’s how they organize their engineering teams. On top of that they have a novel culture of “fail fast, learn fast, improve fast”. If you have a small start-up you can set up these squads or tribes, but what do you do when it’s a large organization? Not sure about that. If it was my company, I’d set up ninja teams to work in small pods. Let the teams know their budget, outcomes and delivery date and let them work out the rest. When something is big, make it smaller. When something is complicated, simplify it.

Digital Natives are looking for a flexible work environment. The returns can be significant, including highly motivated leaders, retention of talented leaders and significant impact to the innovation agenda. [m]pirik has given Logan Brigman broad responsibility and a chance for massive on the job learning. How are you providing a flexible environment and exposure opportunities for your best and brightest?

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