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The challenges facing health and care services can only be addressed through innovation – changing what we do and how we do it. This belief is the starting point for our approach to fostering innovation throughout an ICS/STP.

We help our partners to think deeply about the problems they are trying to solve. We then help structure their thinking to connect these problems to appropriate solutions. To achieve maximum benefit, we are able to scale and spread innovation.

Our experience shows that the demand side of the equation is the limiting factor on innovation. There is no shortage in the supply of new ideas, products and approaches, but there are common deficiencies on the demand side which prevent valuable innovations from taking hold.

Our approach involves:

  • Introducing methods and training to stimulate a culture of empowered and disciplined innovation, especially in frontline clinical teams
  • Scanning international evidence and markets with an extensive network of specialists to identify innovations for consideration
  • Imaginative working with industry and academic partners to draw together new technologies and transferable learning from other sectors. Our Innovation Partnership brings together healthcare bodies, commercial organisations, and universities to research and apply the latest developments in the fields of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and behavioural science
  • Providing practical support for structured piloting, and creating conditions for wider adoption
  • Testing and evaluating relevant innovations in collaboration with stakeholders.

Our e-innovation unit and Strategy Unit underpin our robust approach to identifying innovation. They keep abreast of new thinking and opportunities, and rigorously assess evidence of the potential benefits and risks.

We understand that detailed understanding and presentation of the evidence is vital for securing the support of clinicians, who are ultimately the route to delivering successful innovation. We work with partners to help navigate any cultural or organisational barriers.

We have a track record of investing to benefit partners and achieve health outcomes. We see ourselves as a fundamental part of the NHS social movement described in the Five Year Forward View, and work with, and within, ICSs/STPs to develop relevant and useful products and services.

Since 2014, we have re-invested millions to benefit NHS systems, the local health economy and patient outcomes. For instance, we secured extra help for our CCG partners to develop their five-year strategic plans. We continue to support them with delivery and implementation.