The six principles

Page last updated: 12 May 2022
Organisations we regulate

1. Develop and deploy innovations with the people who will use them

Successful innovations or adoptions of innovations are often achieved through the involvement of staff, people who use services and others who may use the innovation. will make it much more likely to succeed. We recommend co-production between services and people to help shape the innovation and how it is implemented, as well as user testing once it is in place. Organisations need to build the capability to test things well and at an early stage. It is important to focus on groups at risk of exclusion or those who may struggle to use the new technology or innovation, to ensure that services still meet their needs.

2. Develop a culture where innovation can happen

Innovative cultures give people permission to innovate. This can set high standards for safety without cumbersome governance. There should be an open dialogue between organisational leadership and staff, with leaders seeking ideas for improvement and listening to staff feedback. Success is celebrated but it is recognised that success is often partial, and that there is a lot to learn from what doesn’t work. Leaders and senior health and care professionals understand how innovation can help an organisation to achieve its goals, challenge services to develop and improve, and support innovators to succeed.

3. Support your people

People are an organisation’s most precious resource. An innovative organisation builds on the strengths of its people, gives them time to develop and deliver ideas; it supports them to secure external resources, and it helps them develop the capabilities and connections they need to get their ideas off the ground. To successfully implement an innovation, it is important to provide the training people need to use the innovation effectively, and to develop champions and super users with a diverse set of experiences and skills who promote the benefits of the innovation and support others to use it.

4. Adopt the best ideas and share your learning

When a health or social care provider faces a problem, it is likely that someone else has faced a similar problem before. Providers should support their people to develop networks, learn about what other organisations are doing, understand what is important to make innovations work, and share their own learning with others. It is important to identify and commit to the ideas that are likely to have the biggest impact and have a clear point of contact where people can bring their ideas.

5. Focus on outcomes and impact

Successful innovation is built on a rich understanding of the services that a provider delivers, the problems it is seeking to address and the context in which it operates. It is important to articulate realistic objectives and success measures that are clearly linked to the outcomes for people who use services – and that help to address health inequalities. Impact should be measured carefully to help focus decisions, build momentum and communicate the benefits that a new approach brings to the quality of care provided.

6. Be flexible when managing change

Implementing new ideas or adapting existing solutions in a new context can be unpredictable, so it is important that plans and resources are flexible enough to cope with unexpected changes. Leaders should support the best ideas, ensure projects are well-managed and help innovators to overcome barriers. Innovative change can lead to disagreements, so innovators need to engage early with key people’s concerns to understand what is needed to make their idea work and build support for what they are doing. This is especially important where an innovation relies on providers working together across sectors or where benefits accrue in another part of the system. The success of an innovation often depends on involving the right people. This can mean bringing together a team with the right skills to deliver a project, or for digital innovations, a reciprocal relationship and appropriate contract with the technology supplier.

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Common misconceptions

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Developing a shared view of innovation