By Lorrie DeFrank
Carlton Robinson believes Karen Green has a unique perspective on how to use JAX Chamber to move from large enterprise to small business and how to compete at problem solving. She’s done it all.
Robinson, the Chamber’s chief innovation officer and driving force behind its new Call to Innovate program, praised Green’s professional accomplishments and capabilities. Out of about 50 applicants nationwide, she was one of seven selected to pitch solutions to specific health care problems presented by representatives of UF Health, Brooks Rehabilitation and Florida Blue. The pilot Call to Innovate session was held in the Open Innovation Center at the Jacksonville Regional Transportation Center in April.
A former employee of Brooks Rehabilitation, serving as chief information officer the last 19 years, the digital tech and executive IT leadership coach started Karen Green Consulting LLC in 2020. With a desire to eventually go into business for herself, she earned a master’s degree in health informatics from Jacksonville University four years ago. When COVID-19 hit and she served on the mayor’s task force to reopen Jacksonville, she saw people struggling with technology and business relationships related to a returning workforce. Then Robinson asked her to look at the Chamber’s Journey to Innovation program to match problems of large organizations with solutions by small businesses that he had been modeling. “It was a perfect storm—the best time ever to go out on my own,” she said.
To assist with the transition, in spring 2021 she joined Cohort 14 of JAX Bridges where she networked with other entrepreneurs and brainstormed solutions to their respective challenges. “It was great for collecting thoughts and ideas and putting structure around them,” Green said.
Using value proposition as her canvas tool, she created a capability statement that identified her core competencies in digital transformation for business, adeptness for coaching leaders and other professional attributes. She called the statement her best takeaway from JAX Bridges. Because of the pandemic all sessions of the six-month program were digital until the final Bridge2Business event when the group came together to pitch their businesses to about 10 corporations and other stakeholders. “That brought it all home,” Green said. “You realize you are part of a community trying to connect. It gave us the opportunity to boil down who we were in a very short period of time and get feedback.”
Green said she uses JAX Bridges concepts in her consulting business where she works mainly with mid- to upper-management leaders. “A number of people have left jobs in the last year and I have been recommending JAX Bridges to them,” she said. “It’s great for startups and anyone who needs to tweak their business model … a good exercise to understand yourself better.”
Recognizing similarities in the core concepts of JAX Bridges and Call to Innovate, Green began working with Robinson on the health care pilot. “Identifying problems and matching them with solution providers really clicks with me,” she said.
Leveraging JAX Chamber’s relationships to create opportunities for small businesses, the Chamber put out a Call to Innovate to vetted entrepreneurs to present solutions to problems submitted by the participating health care enterprises as well as investors, Robinson said.
“We created an opportunity for innovators to exchange with stakeholders that would have been very difficult for them otherwise,” he said. “They can get funding, business opportunities and wind up working for each other. It was a vision that worked out very well.”
Green worked with Robinson to educate the health care providers on the Call to Innovate model and get them to think about problems to present. “Because I had been working in health care I know the problems, but I still had to do a lot of work to know what pieces had to be included in my solution,” said Green. Pulling from her JAX Bridges experience, she created a capability statement for her solution that involved a platform where consumers can search for health care services.
“When Carlton showed me the model I thought it was remarkable and I’m thrilled that it is happening first in Jacksonville,” she said. “The time is past due for us to be spotlighted over other places like Tampa and Orlando. Our time has come, and Call to Innovate will help get us there.”
To contact Karen Green:
Karen Green Consulting LLC