The Vision of Creato is to be the leading provider of performance improvement training and technology, creating outcomes that matter for the industries we serve.
The journey of Creato to achieve this vision can be summarized in 3 broad phases across 15 years of dynamic growth.
In the first phase, Creato concentrated on expanding its capability in training and certification, principally focused on Lean and Six Sigma. Initially, this took the form of classroom-based instruction, led by Creato, leading to a period of prolific publishing on the impact of our efforts to build capacity for performance improvement within hospitals. Over time, Creato developed very formalized procedures to standardize training content and to track student progress. This led to the creation of a robust process for certification to ensure student mastery of Lean and Six Sigma methodologies. During nearly all Creato engagements, participants work with Creato trainers to complete projects for the purpose of receiving formal certification in the methods.
While more and more hospitals demanded support from Creato during these initial years, the company was also faced with the impact of reimbursement pressures on hospitals, and more economical modes of training were needed. In 2002, Creato introduced the first-ever online training programs in Lean and Six Sigma. With these online assets, Creato further innovated to introduce the first-ever “blended” instruction format by having students work within the online application while also attending classroom instruction for more advanced topics. The blended approach created the ideal environment for learning both from an economical standpoint and student perspective, as students could move at their own pace and leverage various options for support. In 2005, ASQ and Creato entered into a distribution agreement whereby the Creato online program in Lean was made available through the ASQ website.
The second phase in Creato’s history followed from these successful beginnings, and addressed challenges faced by organizations in selecting the best candidates for training. What became clear during these years was that not every person was well-suited to conduct performance improvement work, and even well-intentioned participants were still struggling to effectively apply the methodologies. Through research into the field of “emotional intelligence (‘EQ’),” Creato developed the industry’s first empirically-driven process for predicting whether candidates would succeed or struggle in applying the Lean methodologies. By conducting an EQ assessment of training candidates and comparing to a proprietary baseline of successful students, Creato can produce a rank order of candidates that will qualify for either Lean or Six Sigma training (each methodology gives rise to its own baseline data). Candidates that do not rank highly are encouraged to instead join project teams, and are considered for future waves of training. This became a desired feature in nearly every deployment that Creato has undertaken since, and many clients have extended the use of this tool to support their own efforts in leadership development. As a result, Creato has developed a thriving practice in leadership development that either complements their deployment of Lean and Six Sigma, or is employed separately by chief executives seeking to apply emotional intelligence to the creation of highly effective management teams.
In 2011, as a result of several consecutive years of innovation in the field of healthcare performance improvement, Creato earned a grant from the American College of Healthcare Executives to develop a program for ACHE members focused on the implementation of Lean methodologies. Creato now conducts 2-day programs for ACHE across the country addressing not only the essence of Lean, but how leaders can leverage an understanding of emotional intelligence in gaining acceptance and traction for the methods.
The third phase of Creato’s development recognized the increasing proficiency of organizations in applying the Lean and Six Sigma methodologies. However, with this proficiency arrived a different challenge: bringing order to chaos when so many projects were being conducted concurrently, with no infrastructure to track, monitor, and verify project effectiveness. Moreover, lack of infrastructure threatened to undermine the credibility of the very methods these organizations worked so hard to internalize.
Creato began working with a company that developed a quality management system for the manufacturing industry and, as a distributor; the company modified the application. It quickly became apparent that this product, the COMPASS® Quality Management System, would serve as a critical component in any Lean or Six Sigma deployment, and that to protect Creato clients already using it, Creato must acquire the product outright. Accordingly, Creato consummated the purchase of COMPASS in 2013 and has been making further improvements to the system on behalf of its customer base. In 2016, COMPASS achieved “High Performer” status on G2crowd, an independent site that reviews business software applications.
The evolution of Creato has created a natural benefit for clients in the form of a product/program roadmap that enables clients to move from early stages of competence in performance improvement, to world-class performance. Creato has supported three Malcolm Baldrige Award winning organizations, and in two cases the client contact acknowledged Creato’s role in assisting them to win the award. And in a study of 10 Creato clients across 10 years and including 150 projects, the average return on investment reported was an astonishing 7:1.
Today, Creato is also training the leaders of tomorrow. Through an agreement with The University of Michigan’s graduate program in Health Services Management & Policy, Creato has supplied online training in Lean to first and second year students.
Throughout its nearly 20-year history, Creato has worked in every vertical within the industry and across the globe. Licensees in Creato products have been found as far away as Germany (licensed through ASQ), and the company’s COMPASS system has been licensed by the only ISO-9001 certified hospital in Nigeria. Creato’s relationship to the American College of Healthcare Executives, where the managing partner has been on faculty for the past 16 years, has led to close collaboration with hundreds of hospital CEOs and afforded the company insight into industry trends that fuel product development and publishing activities to sustain our mission as trusted partners and industry thought leaders.