I’ve done several interviews with journalists this week and an interesting conversation came up which made me think about how we all ascribe different meanings to things.
We were talking about innovation. We’re in a world now where budgets, demographics, public health and patient expectation are all coming together to mean that tweaking round the edges won’t be enough. I was making the point that we need to see industrial levels of innovation in the NHS to deliver a service which is fit for the future.
To me innovation should become the norm, but the discussion moved on to look at whether this was then really innovation? How can it be that innovative if everyone’s doing it?
And that’s where the point lies. In the NHS we’ve often seen innovation as creation and discovery. So we’re all beavering away creating and discovering in our own areas and putting our innovations into practice in one trust, or one service. This is a crucial part of innovation. But copying and emulating where others have already done this is perhaps even more important.
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of examples of breathtaking innovation out there. So why aren’t the rest of us copying, emulating, adopting and diffusing those across the NHS?
If our leaders can create climates where adopting the innovative and successful changes other organisations have made, is seen as just as good as developing your own, then we’ll be making huge progress towards industrial levels of innovation.
The Academy’s work will focus on helping leaders create this trusting and open culture where saying: ‘that’s a great idea, let’s make it work here’ is the norm.