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19 May 2017

Artisans of Connection – Co-Creating the Future of Health Service Delivery

According to John Seely Brown and John Hage in their McKinsey Quarterly article ‘From push to pull: The next frontier of innovation’,

Co-creation can be a powerful engine for innovation: instead of limiting it to what companies can devise within their own borders, pull systems throw the process open to many diverse participants, whose input can take product and service offerings in unexpected directions that serve a much broader range of needs.

In my book, EMERGENT – Ignite purpose, transform culture and make change stick, I deep-dive into how co-creation is becoming increasingly synonymous with service innovation and cultural change, not merely as a reaction to increased demands for values alignment, but rather as a viable strategy for economic growth and impact.

Co-designing with stakeholders has become a vital prerequisite in an organisation’s quest for sustainability.

The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Healthcare’s National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards (NSQHS), specifically Standard 2 – Partnering with consumers, highlights significant challenges for providers. Currently, health services in Australia:

  • Need to partner with consumers as part of the NSQHS, but it can be hard to obtain meaningful outcomes.
  • Are trying to transform the human experience of health care, but all it does is slow down care provision.
  • Find it hard to develop and implement new services and systems, while still maintaining day-to-day service excellence.
  • Are under a high regulatory burden, that can be difficult to keep track of and hard to maintain.
  • Are shifting from hierarchical and representative governance (where health professionals have the power) to networked governance and co-creation (where consumers and carers share power).

A co-production approach is a better way to address these issues.

With NSQHS in mind, co-creation can help providers of health services to partner more effectively with their patients and stakeholders, engaging them purposefully around the innovation of products and services they need. Put simply, leveraging mechanisms that ignite purposeful interaction and innovation is imperative in an organisations quest to forge sustainability.

As Human-centric Innovation specialist, Paul Noble-Campbell, notes in ‘Throw out your PRD!’ (*PRD stands for Product Requirements Document) the process of bringing to light underlying user needs

… demands the use of contextual and generative design research techniques optimized for discovering the valuable insights that drive innovation and create brand experiences that delight customers. Such techniques as empathetic immersion, user observation, and participatory design provide a deeper understanding of what is truly important to customers.

Over the past decade I’ve been developing an essential system and set of tools for leaders of change that has been successfully used to co-create and catalyse innovation in the social services and not-for-profit sector, helping to achieve results for some of their most critical causes. And it is evident that a co-production approach could have a massive impact on the delivery of healthcare in Australia, not just in meeting or exceeding the NSQHS standards—but sustained change and innovation to service delivery and patient outcomes. With this in mind, we’re looking for pilot sites and organisations who are either challenged by, or interested in exploring, a co-production approach to participatory healthcare, to please connect and share.

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