John Kenagy

Healthcare Executive and Vascular Surgeon

John Kenagy Fee Range
$10,001 to $20,000
(Inquire for virtual fee)

Travels From
Washington, United States

John Kenagy Speaker Biography

Forbes Magazine’s “The Man Who Would Save Health Care”

Dr. John Kenagy knows health care. He’s a vascular surgeon and physician executive with 30 years of experience. He’s smart, compassionate, and resourceful. He’s seen health care from both sides–consumer and provider. There’s no question. It’s a broken system.

While climbing a tree with his son in 1992, Dr. Kenagy fell out of a tree. Suffering from a broken neck, he spent three months in a halo brace and another three disabled and in therapy. This experience showed him the view from the other side of the privacy curtain: as the patient and he fell into a new perspective on healthcare.


In his book, Designed to Adapt: Leading Healthcare in Challenging Times, Dr. Kenagy has made Adaptive Design his life’s work.  He dedicates his time to teaching managers and frontline caregivers how, working together, they will make a difference. It’s an inspiration and a revelation to see that patients can get exactly what they need at continually lower cost. It’s the way to fix healthcare.

“To say that your presentation was a hit is an understatement! In fact several have asked if we could post your slides on our Convocation web site.” -Director, Conference Planning and Facilitation, large national health system


Dr. John Kenagy has unique experience as a physician, healthcare executive, scholar, advisor, and patient. After receiving his MD with distinction from the University of Nebraska Medical School, he trained in General and Vascular Surgery at the University of Washington and is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons with board certification in General and Vascular Surgery.

In addition to 20 years’ experience as a vascular surgeon, Dr. Kenagy has been Chief of Surgery, Chief of Staff, and Regional Vice President for Business Development with PeaceHealth, a multistate healthcare delivery system.

Dr. Kenagy’s Harvard research included developing disruptive innovation healthcare strategies with Harvard Business School Professor Clayton Christensen and applying methods employed by such companies as Toyota, Intel, and Apple to the healthcare system. His research and teaching also focused on innovative companies who excelled when others failed to adapt and change.

Speaker and Consultant

Dr. Kenagy, MD, speaks, and leads workshops on Adaptive Design across the country. His unique experience and knowledge empower groups to use Adaptive Design to expand the possible.  Dr. Kenagy has presented his ideas to over 200 organizations, including Mayo Health System, Harvard University, U.S. Army Medical Command, the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee, and Microsoft. 

Dr. Kenagy’s management workshops are geared toward executives and managers (from C-suite to frontline), board members, clinical leaders, staff, and physicians with organizational interests or responsibilities in healthcare and related industries. Dr. Kenagy offers half-day and full-day workshop options. Both courses include copies of Dr. Kenagy’s book Designed to Adapt: Leading Healthcare in Challenging Times.  

“Thanks for an inspirational and motivating presentation to our management team and board. We have huge potential for improvement with Adaptive Design and it was very meaningful for our team to hear the story from you. You helped make it ‘come alive’ for us.” -Rick Seidler, President and CEO, Trinity Regional Health System


In searching for solutions to what he saw as systemic problems in healthcare, Dr. Kenagy earned a management degree from Harvard University’s Kennedy School. He was then appointed a Visiting Scholar at Harvard Business School from 1998 to 2002.

John Kenagy Speaking Topics

Value--‐Based Care: Delivering on the Promise

The Promise is more access to better safe care, all at continually lower cost. The good news is most healthcare organizations are already positioned to deliver on the Promise. Three simple, low risk, high reward steps will create a Center of Value and Excellence (CoVE) that will generate more access to better, safer care at continually lower cost in 3-4 months. Once you create a CoVE, you simply replicate and scale what you now know how to do. It’s not rocket science; it’s the science of adaption.

Patient Experience: Partnering to Meet Patient Needs Ideally

Physicians, staff and management partner to meet patient needs ideally when everyone in your organization can work at the “top of their license.” For example, our data show nurses, on average, spend less than 30% of their time in direct patient care. Management, staff and physicians can partner and use Adaptive Design to eliminate the hurdles and barriers that pull everyone away from patients. It's a low risk, high reward opportunity to create a world--class patient experience and continually lower the cost of care.

Sense, Respond, Adapt: Managing the Unpredictable in Real-Time

Healthcare organizations are, by nature, complex, constantly changing and unpredictable. Using conventional data to manage a complex organization is like driving your car by looking at your rear-view mirror. Creating a Sense/Respond/Adapt capability is a simple, safe approach to managing the unpredictable in real time. It’s action innovation – do it, improve it, then replicate and scale it. The results are more care for less cost and new predictive analytics that can be generated by any healthcare organization.

Adaptive Design: Do and Improve Across the Care Continuum

Adaptive Design is an integrated set of methods, skills and tools that make everyone accountable for patient-centered, care and improvement as part of their everyday work. Unlike Lean, Six Sigma, PDSA and other project-based, process reengineering methods, Adaptive Design is a self-sustaining system for designing, doing and improving complex work within and across disciplines. It is a low risk, high reward way to create horizontal integration across the silos, both inside and outside your organization. It is a simple, safe, value-based Operating System for 21st Century healthcare.

Creating Cultural Chemistry: How to Thrive at the Point-of-Care

You don’t implement a great culture; you make it. This presentation taps into the latest research in human decision-making and the success characteristics of innovative, resilient, highly adaptive companies. Leaders from the C-suite to the frontline will learn how to use Purpose, Prototypes, Progress, Momentum and Mastery to create a world-class culture designed to adapt to meet the value-based care needs of 21st Century healthcare.

Centers of Value and Excellence: CoVE’s and the Future of Healthcare

Being a Center of Excellence is good; but CoE is a product of the 20th Century. Centers of Value and Excellence (CoVE’s) will predictably lead 21st Century healthcare. The good news is that most organizations already have the resources needed to adapt rapidly to create multiple Centers of Value and Excellence. Developed, aligned and supported by wise leadership, front lines trained in Adaptive Design can quickly design and prototype many small, low risk, high reward changes as part of their every day work. The results generate more access, to better, safer care at continually lower cost.

John Kenagy Books

Designed to Adapt: Leading Healthcare in Challenging Times
Purchase Book

John Kenagy Videos

John Kenagy Speaker Testimonials

This was the seventeenth annual Fall CIO Forum and based on the program evaluations, this will be remembered as one of the most successful events in CHIME’s history! Your keynote presentation was incredibly well received. Our group was captivated by your insight and the entertaining style with which you delivered your message. Thank you again, Dr. Kenagy, for contributing to the tremendous success of this key event for CHIME!

- Keith Fraidenburg | Vice President, Education & Communications, CHIME

On behalf of the National Blood Foundation, I want to thank you for your talk at the AABB/NBF CEO Summit. Your participation was well received and the reviews of the program have been very positive...I have had numerous requests for copies of it. I think you did a fantastic job of preparing for our audience and making it specific to the blood banking community.

- Jeanne P. Luschin, Director | National Blood Foundation

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Recent Books

Designed to Adapt: Leading Healthcare in Challenging Times
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