Leading academic Jean-Pierre Jeannet publishes new book exploring the AO's innovative social entrepreneurship model

09. December 2018

Leading a Surgical Revolution: The AO Foundation—Social Entrepreneurs in the Treatment of Bone Trauma

Jean-Pierre Jeannet, presents his new book at the AO Foundation's 60th anniversary celebration

​In the late 1950s, the treatment for fractures involved three to four months in hospital in plaster-casts and traction. Recovery was slow, and up to 70 percent of patients experienced reduced mobility upon recovery.

As the AO Foundation marks its 60th anniversary, Jean-Pierre Jeannet, Professor Emeritus of Global Strategy and Marketing, IMD Institute and Babson College, has published a book that explores the AO's impact on how trauma and musculoskeletal disorders were treated.

Jeannet's book, titled Leading a Surgical Revolution: The AO Foundation—Social Entrepreneurs in the Treatment of Bone Trauma, tells the story of a group of Swiss surgeons who, 60 years ago, set their minds to solving a problem that had far-reaching economic, social, and human impact—how trauma and musculoskeletal disorders were treated.

They developed an innovative approach, osteosynthesis, which transformed bone trauma treatment. The standardized approach they developed—internal fixation—had a far-reaching impact on surgery, and a significant economic impact wherever it was adopted. Their revolutionary approach meant that patients who would often have been unable to return to work could again play an active role in the economy.

In his book, Jeannet details the organizational approach adopted by the founders and how they created a self-funded organization to train surgeons across the world in their new techniques.

This organization was both volunteer driven and non-profit, and that is how they came to create an early example of social entrepreneurship. This helped fund their ambitious project, training more than 50,000 surgeons annually in courses all over the world, and also supported their continued efforts to refine their instruments and techniques.

Book Jeannet

​In writing this book, Jeannet went beyond the available archives by interviewing many AO surgeon members, scientists, and entrepreneurs, in person. He explores the growth of the AO as an organization, and paints what is often a highly personal and individualized portrait of the key players. The book ends with a description of the latest initiatives of the AO Foundation, including their drive to expand into low-income countries where AO methods are not yet widely practiced.

Neither surgeon nor engineer by training, Jeannet used his perspective as a business school professor to highlight the organizational and business achievements that played crucial roles in creating and sustaining this successful social enterprise.

Published on December 8, the book is now available:​

Get the book here!​