New and improved

Karen Middleton believes that innovation should be transformative not just new

Karen Middleton CSP's Chief Executive Officer

So, we have the new look Frontline. It’s developed in response to member feedback (you said, we did) and also the changing face of communication in general. Some might say ‘the changes aren’t that big’ – moving to monthly editions, different paper and packaging, some different content – but innovation isn’t necessarily about big inventions and radical change.

I think the word ‘innovation’ sometimes creates unreasonable expectations and pressure, and sometimes excites and stimulates.

Innovation is about something new and different but it might mean doing or using something in a different way. It isn’t just about technology. It could mean developing a new relationship that pays dividends; accessing or delivering a service in a different way; or educating students using different technologies. The key for me is that it needs to be transformative.

Members often show me new and impressive innovations, and many start with someone identifying a need for change or asking ‘Why do we do this like this?’ or ‘Could we do this more efficiently?’ It’s incumbent on us all to give space for asking – and answering – these questions. It requires a climate of openness and trust. Ideas must be welcomed.

Then the innovation needs testing and looking at from different perspectives. Checking-in with stakeholders. Measuring its impact. Understanding and mitigating any risks. And appreciating that it might not go well from the outset. This is a real test of the culture – are we allowed to fail? 

Reflecting on any innovation and its impact is critical. If it does not go well, it is important to understand why and make changes, but it is also important to understand why something goes well. We have a tendency to forget that repeating things that go right is as important as learning from our mistakes.

Healthcare is fantastic at inventing things. We have a long history of doing so but we have a poor history of making these new inventions widespread. The CSP can help but every one of us has a responsibility to do this. 

Healthcare also has a history of adding innovations. To be truly transformative, innovations are not in addition to but they replace something. 

Enjoy the new monthly Frontline and do send in your feedback so that we can reflect and learn. 

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