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Deep End

Citizen CEO

Talking innovation with Clark Gilbert

By D.P. Sorensen
Posted // November 30,2011 -

Basking in the universal acclaim for his resounding success in the innovative field of citizen journalism, the Deseret News’s own citizen CEO “Clark Gilbert” recently sat down with us to discuss his new venture, something he calls Adventures in Citizen Medicine, or Anyone Can Be a Doctor!

Deep End: How do we know you are really the famous disruptive innovator Clark Gilbert, and not just a front man like the notorious Richard Burwash, aka Mike Winder?

“Clark Gilbert”:
That’s for me to know and you to find out. Anyway, I’m not the famous disruptive innovator “Clark Gilbert.”

DE: No?

“CG”: No. I’m actually the famous innovative disrupter “Clark Gilbert.” Get your facts straight, kid. And let me just say that I’m deeply proud to be a citizen CEO. I don’t know a darn thing about being a CEO, let alone a newspaper CEO, and despite that, I think I’ve done a pretty darn good job of royally screwing up, and disrupting, in an innovative manner, the noble profession of journalism.

DE: Our bad. So tell us about your new innovative and/or disruptive scheme to send citizen doctors out into the community.

“CG”: If you were doing your duty as a citizen reader, you would have read the article in a recent Salt Lake Tribune about the “Winder-Deseret Connect Mess” casting a shadow on the citizen journalism model. Well, “Burwash!” I say. My words are so innovative I will quote them again: “It’s naive to ignore the community for their voices, their talent and their insight. These are smart people and they love and live in our community. So we will continue to invest in them.”

DE: Can you give us an example of the citizen smarts and talent in the medical field that you will be investing in?

“CG”: Just the other day, I was feeling a bit gassy, maybe from all my innovative disruption, and I got to chewing the fat with Ed, the guy who runs the produce department over at Smith’s Food. Anyway, he said it sounded like a problem with my prostate, and right there between the cucumbers and the carrots he gives me a prostate exam, which turned out to be the best darned prostate exam ever! Talk about talent!

DE:
Maybe this is a good time to interrupt and have you give us a good definition of “innovative disruption,” or is it “disruptive innovation?”

“CG”: Don’t worry about it. I get confused myself. But in the end, like a prostate exam by either a doc or Ed the produce guy, they amount to the same thing. But here’s a technical definition: disruptive innovation, or innovative disruption, is essentially a product or service that’s not as good but lots cheaper than what’s already available in the marketplace. But you just hope the customer can’t tell the difference. But most folks are dumb, so dumbing things down for dumb people is a smart way to make a lot of dough.

DE:
What about all your talk about commitment to values and principles?

“CG”: Talk is cheap, old sport, so all our flapdoodle about values is right in line with the principles of disruptive innovation, or innovative disruption, as the case might be.

DE: Let’s get back to your new business model of bringing skilled citizens into the practice of medicine. No doubt your friend Ed the produce guy knows what he is doing in the prostate department. But what about things like brain surgery? Don’t you have to go to school for years and years to know what you’re doing?

“CG”: What is it they say? You’ve got to break a few eggs to make an omelet? People are going to mess up a little bit at first, but once they get the hang of it, they’ll be good enough to get by, and meanwhile, we’re still raking in the cash. Take Dr. Richard Burwash, for instance. Before he went into neurosurgery, he did those articles for Mayor Mike Winder and right away readers could tell he was a fraud, even if our citizen editors couldn’t. But brain surgery is much easier than journalism. Dr. Burwash has been operating now for just over two weeks, and already 3 out of 10 patients survived, which is a much better batting average than most of your major league sluggers, which is my next big scheme.

DE: What do you say to your detractors and doubters?

“CG”: Burwash!

D.P. Sorensen writes a satire column for City Weekly.

 
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