23rd August, 2016

Supporting executive and frontline staff across North West London to adopt innovation in their everyday roles, we profile the exciting opportunity that ICHP’s Intrapreneur Programme can offer your organisation.

Aims and objectives

Logo greenImperial College Health Partners (ICHP) is currently working in partnership with thought leaders WhatIf! Innovation to deliver the Intrapreneur programme; aimed at supporting both executive and frontline staff across North West London to adopt innovation in their everyday roles.

The purpose of the programme is to enable providers to build capability and capacity to address their challenges through the adoption of innovation, with a strong focus on scouting for existing best practices and adapting solutions to their environment.

It achieves this by supporting participants to:

  • Be clear about their innovation ambition
  • Understand the key elements of an innovation ecosystem
  • Unlock and mobilise the capability of their staff to source solutions

How does the programme work?

The programme is a ten-week journey of creative learning and doing, split between classroom exploration and application on the frontline of care.

It works with a cohort of four to six small multi-disciplinary teams from across North West London, each one tasked with a patient-centred challenge by their Chief Executive/Directors.

There are three main phases:

  1. Workshop with executives and directors to help them articulate their innovation ambition, identify the levers needed to achieve it, and zoom in on one challenge that needs solving
  2. Support for the right ‘owner’ of the problem to scope it in more detail and put the right team together to crack it
  3. High-cadence ‘Learning and Doing’ journey with challenge teams

The programme focuses on building a powerful set of behaviours that accelerate intrapreneurial problem solving.

It may feel different to other programmes because it:

  • Is action-oriented – trying things out is more important than getting them right;
  • Is focused on finding the right sized wheel for your problem, not inventing a new one;
  • Prioritises small scale experiments to ‘piloting’ and ‘rolling out’;
  • Deliberately uses the internal grapevine to build envy and spread the word.

The key elements in the programme are:

  • Problem exploration and definition
  • Insight gathering and distilling opportunities
  • Scouting for best practices and solutions
  • Adapting solutions to fit
  • Rapid testing cycles to build and iterate

The Journey

The Intrapreneur Journey

How do I know if this programme is for me and my teams?

This is for you if:

  • You need to build capability to solve challenges in the space between QI and major programmes.
  • You recognise that step change improvements need dedicated space, resource and time carved out from daily operations
  • You’re a leader who believes in the potential of your existing staff to make step change improvements.
  • You’ve already embarked on a quality improvement journey and are now hungry to address cross-departmental or cross-organisational challenges on a larger scale that goes beyond optimisation.

How much time will it take?

You’ll need to commit time and resource to making it happen:

  • Teams will need to dedicate two whole days per week for 10 weeks from early September to mid November, which means their time will need to be back-filled.
  • Chief Executives and executive members will need to attend the opening workshop with partners from their executive team and directors, and act on their learning afterwards;
  • An executive team member will need to stay close to the challenge, and support the senior operational problem ‘owner’;
  • You will need to identify a challenge to work on that’s strategically important for your organisation and has an ‘owner’ who is both supportive and able to ringfence blocks of time to check in with the team.

Why did ICHP decide to set up this programme?

As we all know, healthcare providers are facing a widening disconnect between dwindling budgets and soaring delivery expectations, in both quantity and quality. Executives and frontline staff alike are battered by constant pressure to hit targets, keep the wheels on the operation, and fight the inevitable fires that flare up in an overstretched system. We’re all desperate for ways to break the cycle and discover smarter solutions to our problems, but most of us don’t know how.

At the same time we’re all wearily familiar with the cultural and managerial factors that undermine transformation efforts – “not enough time”, “not invented here”, “people won’t get on board”. There’s a growing need for teams of empowered healthcare professionals to unlock problems quickly and democratically, in a way that increases both clinical outcomes and efficiency.

Within this context, QI is helping teams improve current processes and ways of working. However, many of the core challenges around patient journeys are too organisationally complex and changes are required beyond optimisation, whilst sources of funding aren’t obvious. Very few people are equipped to solve problems involving many players across multiple silos.

Innovation takes place all the time in the NHS, but is ad-hoc and often driven by individuals. This programme is a deliberate and systematic organisation-wide approach initiated by ICHP.

What does a challenge look like?

Read our case study here

For more information email ea@imperialcollegehealthpartners.com