LRNT 524 has engaged us in readings that reflect on the meaning of innovation. Innovation is a word without a clear definition. Skillicorn’s (2016) blog post demonstrates the diversity in opinion around the meaning of innovation and guides our reflections on what innovation means to each of us.
Some definitions of innovation that I connected with in Skillicorn’s (2016) article:
Gijs van Wulfen: “An innovation is a feasible relevant offering such as a product, service, process or experience with a viable business model that is perceived as new and is adopted by customers” (Skillicorn, 2016)
Paul Hobcraft: “the fundamental way the company brings constant value to their customers business or life and consequently their shareholders and stakeholders”(Skillicorn, 2016).
Through my contextual lens of health care, these reflections come at a pivotal time. Healthcare in Canada has come to a significant crossroads. Acute care services are stretched beyond all possible capacity. Steps are being taken toward massive support of primary care programs and care structures for our community members. We could sure use some innovative ideas right about now; however, I question whether we are using the most innovative, most agile strategies possible to guide the design of contemporary healthcare practices. Skillicorn (2016) states that to think innovatively about a problem, “we must Flip it on its head, and look at every new thing [we] are trying [from] various customers’ perspectives” (para 8). Do the majority of healthcare policymakers have the skills required to maximize their innovative capacities? Are we supporting healthcare practitioners on the journey to becoming empathetic, design thinkers? If not, how do we begin to develop our innovative capabilities on a foundational level?
In Goldman et al.’s (2012) work the Journey to Becoming a Design-Thinker, the authors discovered that the “learning of design thinking dispositions and mindsets is an emergent journey—with various levels of sophistication, transformation, application, and integration” (p. 13). As we grasp concepts of design-thinking, we become more resilient, capable of adapting to change and able to think through an innovative lens. Goldman et al. (2012) introduce us to the concept of Mindshifts, i.e. the emergent “epistemological viewpoints and instincts that are strengthened while becoming a design thinker” (p. 13). I offer that healthcare providers require a reflection on the ‘lens’ through which we perceive ourselves and our patients in the dynamic of caring practices. I propose that observation and measurement of our Mindshifts will be necessary as we reorientate ourselves to a new era of primary healthcare.
Goldman et al. (2012) offer a framework for what is required as one adopts the orientation of a design-thinker. They identified four key conceptual Mindshifts:
- Human-centered – A focus on empathy as individuals “begin to move beyond egocentric views of the world and no longer design based on their own needs, desires, experiences or preferences” (2012). Human-centric thinking is a distinguishing feature of design thinking.
- Experimental – This Mindshift comes as a “realization that everything may be considered a prototype” and as such, is merely an evolving idea or creation.
- Collaboration – The Mindshift to collaborative practices support the belief that radical assemblies of individuals are required to problem-solve on an innovative scale.
- Metacognitive – The realization that one must be able to reflect on their own position in the continuum of a design process to respond with agility to a problem.
Now, using the four Mindshifts, consider your practice as a healthcare provider (or within the context of your own organization). Do you believe your practices have moved beyond your own goals and motivations? Beyond your own preferences? Are you continually looking to problem-solve and looking for solutions that are unique to your users? Do you accept the status quo in your practices or do you believe that constant iterations of policy and process should be examined? Do you stretch out of comfort to collaborate beyond your immediate ‘community’ to gain insights or new opinions? Are you self-aware enough to realize where you lie in the continuum of addressing problems and can you pivot to make necessary adjustments without impact to your ego?
Goldman et al. (2012) called for a culture shift toward supporting the lives of learners in a move toward an innovative, collaborative and “technologically-sophisticated” culture (p. 17) In the effort to support patients in the community, we ask them to create healthier habits, focusing on disease prevention and self-management strategies. We ask our patients to work collaboratively with community care providers and stay connected, often with new technology such as telehealth or virtual care. I offer that if we expect our patients to engage in innovative health practices, healthcare providers will first require the capacity in ourselves. I propose the addition of design thinking in our professional ‘toolkits’ to support the necessary developments in healthcare re-design. In addition to our developed skills of critical thinking, problem-solving, communication, and collaboration, we will need to support future strengths of creativity, innovation, and digital literacy using technologies, as these are all required skills in the 21st century.
Goldman, S., Carroll, M.P., Kabayadondo, Z., Cavagnaro, L.B., Royalty, A.W., Roth, B., Kwek, S.H. & Kim, J. (2012). Assessing d.learning: Capturing the journey of becoming a design thinker. In H. Plattner, C. Meinel & L. Leifer (eds). Design thinking research: Understanding innovation. (pp. 13-33). Berlin: Springer.
Skillicorn, N. (2016, March 18) What is innovation? 15 experts give us their opinion [web log post]. Retrieved from: https://www.ideatovalue.com/inno/nickskillicorn/2016/03/innovation-15-experts-share-innovation-definition/