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Featured: Richard Smith on Open Space Meeting

On the BMJ Group Blog, Richard Smith writes about encouraging innovation in the NHS and a recent Open Space meeting initiated by  GP Niti Pall of Pathfinder Healthcare Developments. It sounds like some really interesting conversations took place and some progress was made towards some of the issues around implementing innovation:

Around 50 conversations took place, and each leader of a conversation had to produce notes that were handed to “scribes,” who typed all the material. We are promised the results within days. I attended only a few of the conversations, but I can give you a sense of the feel of the meeting by listing some of the topics of conversation,

  • Is professional “puffupedness” the main block to innovation?
  • How can we get little bits of money to support new ideas and enterprises?
  • How can we form networks of innovators?
  • Innovation is an old fashioned idea
  • We don’t need a tweak we need a Cairo
  • Let’s get rid of intellectual property
  • How can we develop robust outcome data that people believe
  • We need to learn to put ourselves in other people’s shoes
  • Clinical innovation is strangled by managers
  • Money needs to follow ideas
  • Change is talked about all the time but never really happens
  • Who owns the NHS?
  • How can we use art, music, sculpture, architecture, comedy, technology, and Skype to promote innovation in the NHS?
  • Why if China can simultaneously be the largest communist country in the world and capitalist can’t the NHS be socialist but use market mechanisms?
  • We want people led commissioning
  • You don’t need RCT evidence to appreciate music: why is evidence overdone?
  • Why do people keep expecting linear outcomes from complex systems?
  • How can innovation reduce inequalities?
  • How do we create an implementation culture?
  • Turning general practice from a corner shop enterprise into Waitrose
  • Moving change from local to global
  • Innovation and failure go together: how can we make failure acceptable in the NHS?
  • Turning high risk teams into high reliability teams (from an ex-pilot)
  • Why are some doctors “invulnerable to human error?” (This one attracted ironic laughter, as intended)
  • Is disruption impossible in the NHS?
  • How can clinicians connect with alternative providers?
  • Myths about innovation: you need money, it’s risky, you need lots of ideas
  • What would an innovative NHS taste and smell like?



About Margaret Gold

Margaret is an innovation and business launch specialist in the mobile industry, one of the organisers of Over the Air (the annual mobile developer hack-a-thon event), and the founder of The Mobile Collective.


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