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Birmingham and Solihull Mental health NHS Foundation Trust
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Innovation at our Trust

What is innovation?

There are many definitions of innovation. Our Trust uses the definition provided in Innovation, Health and Wealth (DH, 2011), although we change the reference from NHS to BSMHFT:
“An idea, service or product new to BSMHFT or applied in a way that is new to BSMHFT, which significantly improves the quality of health and care wherever it is applied.”
Innovation at our Trust particularly relates to new services or products and should not be confused with service improvement, which is about improving what is already in place in our services.

Innovation includes two types of new product or service:

1) those that we develop

2) those that have been developed elsewhere which we think might add value at BSMHF, for example: an app first developed in another NHS Trust; a service established in social care; a tool currently in use in surgical settings; or a piece of software created for banking.

If it is new to BSMHFT and could add value, improve care and/or protect resources, then it is a potential innovation.

How does innovation link to research?

Research and innovation are interlinked and, at our Trust, these teams work alongside each other. When research projects are completed they often result in recommendations for new product or services to be implemented, e.g. new drug treatment/intervention or service such as memory assessment or early intervention. It is our responsibility to ensure that these new products and services are implemented as quickly as possible, especially those which are nationally endorsed.
Research projects may be born out of new product/service development evaluation. Research projects in relation to new interventions may begin with an innovation pilot to test the service/product in a particular setting for example. This will help researchers to decide whether to go ahead and may support their application for research funding for example.
Our Trust has an active innovation agenda whereby we actively support the development of innovative ideas and securing of relevant funding as far as possible. When we talk about innovation we are specifically referring to product or service development innovations as opposed to specific research projects.

The Innovation Pipeline

innovation pipeline
Our Trust has its own 'Innovation Pipeline' (above). It builds a methodical, intelligent process around innovation, creating checks and balances to ensure the best use of time and money whilst promoting the opportunity to manifest new ideas and nurture them to success. Following the stages of the innovation pipeline helps our staff to embrace the possibility of failure by creating more opportunities to assess feasibility. Many ideas will be generated, but only a few will make it to the pilot stage and beyond. It is important to acknowledge and accept this in order to ensure that if this is the case, that it happens at an earlier stage in the pipeline where it is less costly and adaptations can be made in order for it to eventually succeed.

Take a look below at what the different stages mean:
Innovation generate
Innovation assess
Innovation develop
Innovation implement
Innovation evaluate
Innovation promote
Innovation disseminate

Generate: Generating new ideas and Identifying innovative products or services from elsewhere.

Assess: Assessing innovation ideas in relation to newness, likely success and value and understanding existing evaluations of the identified product or service.

Develop: Developing the innovation including identifying relevant funds and supporting funding bids and adapting the innovation (if required) including identifying relevant funds and supporting bids.

Implement: Implementing the innovation.

Evaluate: Evaluating the implementation.

Disseminate: Disseminating the innovation and supporting further dissemination.

Promote: Promoting the outcome.