Innovation Scout Network -  What we have learned

Dr Fabian Seymour joined Medipex in September 2015 and has taken over day-to-day management of the Innovation Scout Network in collaboration with Philippa Hedley-Takhar from the Yorkshire and Humber Academic Health Science Network (YHAHSN). Before joining Medipex, Fabian led the Innovation Scout Network for our sister NHS Innovation Hub Health Enterprise East in East Anglia where he had successfully introduced a number of initiatives based on consultation with the network there.

Fabian is keen to see the Innovation Scout Network develop in the Yorkshire and Humber region and has performed an extensive review of the network via a telephone questionnaire before Christmas.

Fabian notes “It was really important for me to hear from our Innovation Scouts to find out what has been working well, what hasn’t and what their thoughts are for a number of initiatives I’m keen to implement. We are a big region and second to meeting everyone in person a phone call seemed the next best thing.  The response has been terrific – I got to speak with a third of our network and have also been able to establish who really wants to be part of it in 2016.  I’m working to develop a programme that is going to benefit all of the diverse organisations hat we work with – from acute, community, mental health and commissioner perspectives.”

See below - What we have learned from the survey

What have we learned?

Our Innovation Scouts come from a range of backgrounds and really want to make a difference to their organisations and on the whole, the innovation work that they do is supported and welcomed by their management.  However there has been a sense that after coming on the initial ‘foundation course’ the opportunities for networking and communication between different organisations have been limited.  The general feedback was that we need to host more events where Innovation Scouts can get together and explore other aspects of how new ideas and inventions develop from idea to new product or service.  We also heard, certainly from our early cohort of Innovation scouts, that they wanted more emphasis in the training around copyright and service improvement innovations.

“I want to find innovative solutions to problems and tap into the network to find solutions”

“It’s a development opportunity for me – I’m interested in tangible things to improve patient benefit and pathways”

What are we doing about it?

  1. Training: In collaboration with the YHAHSN, the training has already developed well beyond the initial training that was provided and encompasses more around how to be an Innovation Scout, culture change in the NHS, service improvements, lots of case studies (though there are never enough!) and more about what innovation actually means as well as the fundamentals of intellectual property (IP).  We also explore why having an IP policy underpins any innovation activity.  We’ve heard that CPD accreditation is not necessarily that valuable to our current network members, but could encourage more clinical staff to join up.
  2. Shorter workshop series: We are going to develop a rolling series of short workshops to compliment theformal training day. These will explore different aspects of the innovation process – such as how to uncover and quantify a genuine clinical unmet need, scope viable solutions, prepare business case engage support and so on. We will aim to have these set regularly each month, at different times of the day and in a different location so that we can reach out to anyone interested.  These will also provide the opportunity for more actual face-to-face networking.
  3. Events: We are looking to hold a half-day Innovation Scout Networking and Showcase event which will enable Innovation Scouts to showcase their Trust’s innovations, find out what’s being developed elsewhere and whether they can become early adopters, and conversely enable organisations to highlight problems and gaps in pathways to encourage new ideas.
  4. Web Portal: We are now in the development stages for a dedicated Innovation Scout Network secure web portal, which will be accessible only after people have attended the foundation course training (so that confidentiality is understood!). Here, we will be able to put downloadable resources and checklists for the course and workshops, links to events and relevant competition/funding calls etc.  The portal will also include a forum for members of the network to communicate and engage more fully in discussing innovation issues or developments, and highlight potential opportunities around the region. This is due to be launched soon after Easter 2016.

“I want to learn how best to coordinate and harness new ideas and learn from others”

“I want to learn how to be a more innovative organisation and hear what's going on”

Lastly, Fabian wants to thank all of our organisations and Innovation Scouts who have taken part in this survey. It’s great to have had such enthusiastic responses from people and to know that there is so much going on in the Yorkshire and Humber!


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