About Joe Flower and The Change Project

Joe Flower photo healthcare futuristWith over 30 years’ experience, Joe Flower has emerged as a premier observer and thought leader on the deep forces changing healthcare in the United States and around the world. As a healthcare speaker, writer, and consultant, he has explored the future of healthcare with clients ranging from the World Health Organization, the Global Business Network, and the U.K. National Health Service, to the majority of state hospital associations in the U.S. as well as many of the provincial associations and ministries in Canada, and an extraordinary variety of other players across healthcare – professional associations, pharmaceutical companies, device manufacturers, health plans, physician groups, and numerous hospitals. He has been a consultant on change and the future with the U.S. Department of Defense, Airbus and ArianeSpace, and a number of governments in China. (See a more extensive client list)

Flower is the author of Healthcare Beyond Reform: Doing it Right for Half the Cost, a widely acclaimed manifesto on where healthcare is and has to be heading, based on his in-depth survey of healthcare trends and innovation. He is also the author of hundreds of healthcare articles. For over 20 years he was a contributing editor and regular columnist at the Healthcare Forum Journal. When the Healthcare Forum became the Health Forum of the American Hospital Association, he went on to a regular column in the AHA’s Hospitals and Health Networks Daily. He is member of the AHA’s Health Forum’s speaking faculty, and serves on the board of the Center for Health Design.

Joe Flower and The Change Project, Inc.'s office on a tugboat.  ImagineWhatIf.com

The offices of The Change Project, Inc., aboard the converted Navy tug Owatonna

Flower was a contributing writer for Wired Magazine in its explosive early years, and a columnist for the pioneering health websites DNA.com and HealthCentral.com.

After an MA from San Francisco State University and postgraduate work at UC Berkeley, his further deep research into the nature of change in organizations and people led to interviews with the top thinkers on organizational change, from Peter Drucker to Peter Senge and Ari de Geus. He went deeper, into the study of chaos theory, Eastern thought, and martial arts, eventually earning a black belt in Ueshiba Aikido.

Flower was a founding member of the International Health Futures Network and the principal author of the landmark healthcare forecast, “Technological Advances and the Next 50 Years of Cardiology,” Journal of the American College of Cardiology (vol. 35, no. 4, 2000).

His other writings include:

  • China’s Futures, Global Business Network 2000 (co-author)
  • The 21st Century Healthcare Leader, Jossey-Bass 1999 (co-author)
  • Japan’s Futures, Global Business Network 1998 (Executive Editor)
  • Leading Change: A Key Challenge for Board-Management Teams, The Governance Institute, 1998
  • The Encyclopedia of the Future, MacMillan, 1996 (co-author)
  • Best Practices in Collaboration to Improve Health: Creating Community Jazz, (principal co-author), The Healthcare Forum and the California Wellness Foundation, 1996
  • Prince of the Magic Kingdom: Michael Eisner and the Re-Making of Disney, John Wiley 1991
  • Age Wave, Random House 1989 (co-author)


Jennifer Flower, Ph.D

Jennifer Flower, Ph.D

Jennifer Flower, Ph.D., brings the internal and behavioral perspective to the table. A psychologist and psychoanalyst, trained at the University of Massachusetts, in the Harvard hospitals, and at the William Alanson White Institute in Manhattan, she brings to bear her powerful insights into, especially, the change process, helping you and your team tackle the hard question,”What will you really do?”

What is the Change Project?

Joe and Jenny Flower aboard the converted Navy tugboat Owatonna.  ImagineWhatIf.com

Joe Flower and Jennifer Flower, PhD

Most of us live and think as if the world were static, or as if it should be.  Too often the way we act, plan, and react betrays the assumption that tomorrow will be much like today, that we’ll slide by all right if we just get a little better, a little smarter at doing what we are already doing.

The reality is quite different, both inside and outside.  Outside, the world, the economy, your industry, your community, are changing rapidly, faster right now than in recent memory.  Inside, of the multiple separate elements that make up what you think of as your “self,” many are likely to change over the next five to ten years — your financial situation, your career, whether you work at all, your relationships with parents, children, and friends, your health, even your beliefs and assumptions about yourself and the world around you.  Some will change drastically, some subtly. Some will change incrementally, some cataclysmically.

For individuals and organizations, the skills that we most need to learn in order to survive and thrive are the skills of dealing with change.

But most people don’t really like change.  And all of us get stuck at one time or another and have trouble finding our ways back to the flow.

The Change Project consulting is a collaboration between Joe Flower and Jennifer Flower, Ph.D.  Together or separately, we work with leaders and organizations who are stuck in process or seeking ways into new terrain.  Our approach is pragmatic.  Using the contagion of ideas and the surprises of experience, we start by tracking the live edge of wherever our clients are.  We provide many ways of thinking about the problem, both from inside and from outside and with particular sensitivity to the crossover between them; that is, how internal and external realities influence each other.

We’re not interested in imposing a school of thought; we draw on many, focusing on whatever change is and wherever it leads for the client.  Then, as we go, we teach the tools and relevant knowledge to help our clients keep moving on their own.