Innovation in the health services

Healthcare & Innovation

publication date 16/05/2017

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The health and care sectors are currently bubbling with innovations driven by technological, managerial, service and product innovation. Little by little they are transforming the health system in order to better respond to the new expectations of patients and professionals. More generally, it is the ageing population, the significant growth in chronic illness and also the need to relieve patient carers which are forcing us to rethink the system.

This boom is especially remarkable as it is a surprise: the health and care sectors are very divided, fragmented and institutionalized. Everything points to working in silos, in a divided way, reproducing what has already been done... Even denying any capacity to innovate so the public policies are perceived as having as many constraints as opportunities to innovate; in the end, patients are too rarely associated with changing processes. So, routine dominates and it is difficult for the imagination to infiltrate a well-oiled machine.  

Our research and observation of good practices leads us to promote the following key point: in order to promote open and collaborate innovation and to innovate within the health services, we must innovate within the leadership and working methods. To do this, we must set up what we call “collective and creative spaces” within the organisations or in the gaps of several organisations, which will encourage the emergence, perpetuation and spread of innovation and which will enable us to create new sources of value (better responses to the expectations of patients and service users, activity development, etc.).  

These spaces will gather together varied participants who do not work together very often, presenting methodological and conceptual resources to spark innovation, to protect participants from norms, pressures and routines, and to evaluate innovation and encourage its spread or perpetuation in order to sustainably transform the health system.  

We illustrate this research with three lots of experience (in France and Canada), which promoted innovation by creating collaborative spaces, managed in an original manner and mobilising methods of design thinking to imagine new services.