INSPIRED IMPACT™ gives voice to social entrepreneurs and leaders of purpose-driven organizations who are making an impact in their communities, industries, and around the world.
Mike Biselli a community builder, health-tech entrepreneur, international speaker, and President of Catalyst HTI headquartered in Denver, CO. Follow him on Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn and YouTube and learn more at mikebiselli.com.
WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT DO YOU DO?
My name is Mike Biselli and I’m the president and co-founder of Catalyst HTI, a 180,000 square-foot city block healthcare innovation campus located in the River North district of Denver, Colorado. We bringing together Fortune 100 companies, all the way down to a woman with an idea on a napkin, and everything in between. We are laser-focused on re-imagining healthcare and the health of our nation by doing it together, and doing it collaboratively. This building is not an accelerator for healthcare or an incubator for healthcare. We house them here. This is also not co-working space, like a WeWork for healthcare. That’s just our fourth floor of seven total floors. What we call this is an “industry integrator.” I actually believe it’s first of its kind in the country. We’re bringing the biggest of the big in the same environment of the smallest of the small, to work together shoulder-to-shoulder, side-by-side, and collaboratively to move the health of our nation forward.
We’ve done this in partnership with a real estate developer named Koelbel & Company, as well as with the Burgess family that have been long-standing owners of land and real estate in the River North district. They transferred a city block of dirt into the partnership in August 2015. We scraped the ground in October 2016, opened the campus on July 9, 2018, and we’re effectively sold out at this time.
WHAT DO YOU STAND FOR? WHY DOES THE WORLD NEED YOU?
I’ve been in healthcare my whole career and have seen how fundamentally broken and disconnected it is. Instead of moaning and groaning about it – that we can’t change healthcare, that the industry’s broken and not repairable – I chose to not subscribe to any of that. If we could put a man on the moon 50 years ago, there’s no doubt in my mind that we can re-imagine this industry that impacts every single American. Because if we continue on the path that we are on, this single industry, which is now more than 20% of our GDP, could put this country on its back. It’s just not sustainable. It’s currently a $3 trillion industry trending to $5 trillion in the next nine years. But not on my watch; we’re no longer going to just roll over and allow that to happen.
So, what I stand for is being a person who is trying to blow up the orthodoxy and the placation that “this is how it’s always been done.” That no longer works. I don’t subscribe to it and I want to invigorate others to also not subscribe to the this-is-how-it’s-always-been-done mentality because it is literally bankrupting our country. I want people to see the possibilities of change through the healthcare innovation campus I built and as well as through all my other work and initiatives. I’m pushing the health of our nation forward and we can certainly do it. And we’re going to do it by doing it together.
WHAT IMPACT ARE YOU MAKING?
I have no idea. I hope that the impact I’m making is showing folks that we can do this, that we can re-imagine healthcare. That we need to do it by knocking down the silos between the start-ups and the entrepreneur and the disruptors and the incumbents like Kaiser, Aetna, UC Health, United, or the other big giants. I see the folks on this campus marching in here every day not taking no for an answer and trying to really unlock the mysteries of this industry called healthcare. I hope the impact that I am making is helping folks be re-invigorated and reigniting that fire in their belly that brought them into this industry in the first place. That’s my hope.
WHAT (OR WHO) INSPIRES YOU TO MAKE THIS IMPACT?
All the community members that I serve not only here in Colorado, but across the nation. I’m very fortunate. I do a lot of public and motivational speaking around the world. I’m on the front lines and I get to hear from leaders who are working to make a difference in our communities across the nation. Those are the folks that inspire me. There are so many incredibly passionate and mission-driven people who are trying to make this country better and improve the health of our nation. It’s not easy. The folks that I get to interact with – the people that call my campus home here in Denver – those are the folks that really inspire me to keep pushing hard, stand up to the orthodoxy, and blow up this current ivory tower healthcare system that is just completely bankrupting the United States.
WHAT’S YOUR VISION, YOUR BIG DREAM, FOR THE ORGANIZATION AND THE IMPACT YOU WANT TO MAKE?
That Catalyst was one of the sparks for our country to start getting on more sustainable paths for healthcare. It’s probably going to be the hottest topic in regard to the upcoming presidential election. Everybody knows it. Everybody talks about it, it touches every single person whether we like it or not. This campus is bringing multiple health systems, 60+ different startups, five academic institutions, and six associations together to move this industry forward – some even being competitors. My hope and my dream is that others across the nation look at us and say, “Look what they’re doing with Catalyst in Denver. If they can do it, why can’t we?”
WHAT RESOURCES DO YOU NEED TO MAKE THAT DREAM COME TRUE?
I need people to make a mind shift. The resource is I need a bigger microphone or megaphone to get the message out that we have to change the way we think. I’m always living in the world of innovation and I actually now share on the stage that I believe innovation isn’t a piece of technology or line of code. I believe innovation is a mindset and that changing our mindset, blowing up orthodoxy, trying new things, taking risks, and failure are all a part of innovation. It’s okay to take risks and fail. Just learn from those mistakes.
WHAT CHALLENGES ARE YOU FACING?
WHAT WORDS OF ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHER LEADERS LOOKING TO MAKE AN IMPACT?
Play the long game. This stuff is hard. Making an impact in the world is not easy. People are very hesitant and reluctant to change and impact usually requires change. You have to be relentless in your mission. If I stopped at my 10,000th “no” for this campus, I would not be sitting here today. Leaders must be true to the mission and the opportunity at hand. They must be relentless, refusing to take “no” for an answer. Play the long game, understand it’s a marathon and not a sprint, and then of course through all that, make sure to take time for yourself and unplug and work on your own mental, physical, and emotional wellbeing as well because this can really drain one’s batteries. It’s important to take care of one’s self through the journey of trying to create an impact.
WHAT’S ONE THING YOU WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW ABOUT THE IMPORTANT WORK YOU’RE DOING?
I don’t want to stop here in Denver. I want to grow around the country and around the world and energize other communities to build this kind of innovation ecosystems to break down the silos between large incumbents and the startups and the disruptors. I believe this is the new wave of how business is going to be done. Startups can move so fast now and can take market shares so quickly and grow at a credibly break-neck speed that the large incumbents that have been around for decades better take notice or else they might get “Uber-ized” like the taxi industry did. That’s one thing that I want people to know – that I am working with municipalities, government entities, and private enterprises, around the world to start thinking through how they can build these industry integrator innovation economies for their communities because that leads to sustainable job and economic development growth for those communities as well.
HOW CAN OTHERS SUPPORT YOU OR YOUR CAUSE?
Support the folks that are in the Catalyst building and around the country who are taking a stand to try new things and to butt the orthodoxy and to try new models. Always challenge the status quo. We’re experiencing more change than ever right now. We have more information and content at our fingertips than we’ve ever had in human history. Information is moving so fast. There’s so much happening. Living by the “this-is-how-it’s-always-been-done” mentality will make you completely irrelevant very quickly. So, embrace change. Embrace innovation. Understand that the world is changing and it is chaotic. But, as I always like to say, amidst great chaos presents great opportunity. One way you can support the cause is to support others that are working to change the world for the better.
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