The bedrock of the NHS is currently shifting. The future stage has been set by huge structural changes, a need for massive savings, the necessity of working across partnerships and sectors, all combined with a renewed drive to truly put patients at the heart of our culture.
Collectively, it means we need to find better ways of doing things, which is exactly what innovation is about. Innovation enables us to do things more cheaply, more efficiently, in ways that produce better outcomes and that patients prefer.
It is not just about coming up with new ideas, or the latest technology. Innovation is about transforming the way we work, do business and provide care, bringing clinicians together with patients, communities and technology to improve, and save, lives.
So how do leaders create a culture of innovation? The aspiration of innovation is frequently quoted in annual reports and strategy documents, yet making it a reality is less straightforward. At The Young Foundation we have helped NHS leaders to stimulate and support innovation and have worked with hundreds of projects, and supported commissioners, providers and SHAs. We have summarised what we believe to be key at achieving this goal.