Healthcare is a domain that is awash with innovation, whether it’s wearable devices, artificial intelligence, big data or genomics. There is a flood of new technologies promising to revolutionise the sector. Getting these innovations to the front line is far from easy. Read on to find out how innovation in the NHS is being driven.
A recent report from the King’s Fund highlighted the challenges involved. It explores how innovation often struggles to make it through the UK’s National Health Service (NHS), despite there being no shortage of entrepreneurship both within the NHS workforce and the wider ecosystem.
Part of the problem is that ideas and innovations enter at the top and are expected to cascade down through the organisation. It’s an approach that tends to bypass the great ideas for change that front line staff have that are based upon their direct experiences. There are signs that a more progressive culture is emerging however. For instance, in 2015 the Academy of Fab NHS Stuff was launched to showcase some of the best practice across the NHS, with the hope being that staff would be able to locate innovations, and indeed innovators, that they can learn from.
Similar ambitions were behind NHS Change Day, a ground-up project launched in 2013 to inspire staff to implement one small improvement to their regular practice, with the hope being that across the million or so staff working in the NHS, this would amount to a huge groundswell of improvement.
That innovation remains challenging despite these initiatives underlines the difficult nature of change within the intense environment healthcare presents. It’s a key motivation behind our recent partnership with Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Trust that will see Idea Drop deployed to bring the ideas and innovations of staff to a large audience.
Trust CEO Roisin Fallon-Williams says;
“We encourage everyone to have a voice and to share their thinking, and that’s why Idea Drop is a really good platform for us”
Idea Drop will facilitate a four month program of work to gather views of staff and other stakeholders from across the organisation. The goal is to drive and inform a refreshed and revitalised strategy for 2020 and beyond.
“It doesn’t matter what role you have in the organisation, your voice really matters and your contribution can make a difference to us.”Roisin Fallon-Williams, CEO
Idea Drop will facilitate a deep and meaningful engagement with stakeholders so that the Trust as a whole can formulate a strategy to meet the rapidly changing landscape they face. What’s more, by securing involvement of stakeholders into this strategy, the Trust hope that there will be widespread support and buy-in for it.
The benefits of a crowdsourced innovation approach to strategy formulation was highlighted by recent research from INSEAD, which revealed that the most effective way for strategy to be widely disseminated throughout a business was to involve employees in its creation.
The study highlights how not only does this approach ensure that opinions and perspectives from across the organisation are heard during the strategy formation process, but this heightened engagement in the process ensures greater buy-in from staff when the strategy is eventually rolled out.
This form of two-way dialog represents a shift from the traditional cascading approach to strategy that is akin to senior leaders giving their sermon on the mount. It’s an approach that is increasingly common in a variety of sectors. For instance, tech giant IBM regularly host Idea Jams that have tapped the wisdom of their 300,000 or so employees.
Few have gone further than IT services company HCL however, who opened up their business planning process in a bid to make it more inclusive and agile. Every business plan across the business now has to abide by three clear rules:
- Peer review must be a core component of strategy evaluation
- Radical transparency must be created across units
- The conversation must be opened up to the entire company
Now, each of the 8,000 HCL employees contribute to the strategic planning process at the business, and this resulted in not only higher engagement in the planning process, but also higher quality plans as a result.
Leading healthcare forward
This is especially so at a time in which the Wellcome Trust emphasise the rapid pace of change in healthcare. In a recently published report, they highlight the ethical, social and political changes currently unfolding in healthcare, but simply inviting stakeholders to contribute is not enough in its own right. It isn’t a silver bullet that will ensure that your strategy will be fit for the 21st century.
Indeed, research from Arizona State University highlighted how many ideation initiatives fail because they result in a deluge of ideas that represents an insurmountable filtration challenge for managers seeking to understand and implement the ideas presented.
“The very nature of crowdsourcing means that ideators can be overwhelmed by the number of ideas generated, rather than inspired by them,” the researchers say. “There are several issues that need to be considered in systems that operate at this scale, such as the organization of the ideas, as well as the subsequent convergence on the best ones.”
At Idea Drop, we strive to overcome these hurdles and create a clear pathway for ideas to make it into practice. Our platform provides a number of features that support organisations in their engagement with staff and other stakeholders:
- Collaboration – People can comment and develop ideas further, make relevant connections between departments or geo locations. In that way, ideas are being refined before they go into the review stage.
- Evaluation – Each idea is automatically scored based on our algorithm which gives a score allowing easily and quickly identify the most promising ideas or the ones that received the most interactions from employees.
- Sorting – Ideas are categorised and shared only with the relevant groups and departments, which helps managers manage the ideas that are submitted by only presenting those that are most relevant to them.
- Searching – Managers can use in-built filters to quickly find ideas by date, groups, categories or via trending hashtags.
- Development – Ideas move through stages of the pipeline to allow all participants to see the stage each idea is at and their current status.
By engaging with stakeholders across the Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Trust ecosystem in an efficient and productive way, we truly believe that we’re empowering them to meet the tremendous challenges facing healthcare in the 21st century by helping drive innovation in the NHS.
Read the Case Study
Leading NHS trust rolls out Idea Drop to drive innovation in healthcare
Read this case study and find out why BSMHFT decided to roll out Idea Drop and how it is going to help shape their strategy for 2020.