When I decided to build a company in early 2021 to commercialize healthcare-related technologies developed at The Ohio State University and licensed from The Ohio State Innovation Foundation (OSIF), I wanted a company name that captured the most important values that would form the DNA of the company. With that intention in mind, I came up with HDO Health.
The H in HDO represents the fact that our company is heart led. What does it mean to be heart led? For our team at HDO Health, being heart led means that we embrace the philosophy and practices of the servant leadership model. So what is servant leadership?
"Servant leadership is a philosophy and set of practices that enriches the lives of individuals, builds better organizations and ultimately creates a more just and caring world." While servant leadership is a timeless concept, the phrase “servant leadership” was coined by Robert K. Greenleaf in The Servant as Leader, an essay that he first published in 1970. In that essay, Greenleaf said: “The servant-leader is servant first… It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. That person is sharply different from one who is leader first, perhaps because of the need to assuage an unusual power drive or to acquire material possessions. The leader-first and the servant-first are two extreme types. Between them there are shadings and blends that are part of the infinite variety of human nature.
“The difference manifests itself in the care taken by the servant-first to make sure that other people’s highest priority needs are being served. The best test, and difficult to administer, is: Do those served grow as persons? Do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants? And, what is the effect on the least privileged in society? Will they benefit or at least not be further deprived?“ A servant-leader focuses primarily on the growth and well-being of people and the communities to which they belong. While traditional leadership generally involves the accumulation and exercise of power by one at the “top of the pyramid,” servant leadership is different. The servant-leader shares power, puts the needs of others first and helps people develop and perform as highly as possible."
In addition to following the servant leadership model, being heart led means that we are grounded in key operating principles that guide our actions, decisions, and priorities including the focus on having all of our products be sourced, manufactured, and packaged in the U.S.A. whenever possible. Lastly, we also have strong convictions about supporting the U.S. military, all first responders, and all those that serve and protect others.
The D in HDO stands for data driven. We are dedicated to having the innovative, life-saving products we develop and bring to the world be well supported by solid research, methodical development, evidence, and as much data as possible. In addition to guiding how we develop and deliver our products, data will be a key tool and element in how we operate the company, make decisions, prioritize investments, and grow.
The O in HDO stands for outcome focused. We exist to help solve complex unmet healthcare needs. Our products have to work the way they are designed to work, when they are needed to work - every single time. While we will be heart led and driven by data, ultimately we must be focused on outcomes, individually, as a team, and as a company. Our work matters because of those we serve so in the end we must deliver on our promises.
Stay tuned for so much more from the team at HDO Health, we are just getting started.