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Impact dial from low to high

Measuring the longer-term impact of innovation

The wider adoption of your innovation is not the end of the story. Continual reflection and refinement of your solution/innovation should occur. Below we discuss the continual circle of improvement. Think about the link between a good innovation idea and successful implementation as you read.

In encouraging the wider adoption of your innovation it is important to be clear about what you want others to adopt and what will be the advantages to their service provision in whatever discipline that may be. Remember that each team and service will be different and that your exact change and/or innovation may not be applicable everywhere, however the underlying principles upon which your innovation was designed and implemented locally maybe.

By far though the most important aspect of achieving widespread impact is the human aspect and you should consider how to maximise this. You will see various terms to discuss this including:

Opinion Leaders
Opinion Leaders are people in a team or organisation that have influence and may not always be part of the management structure. However be careful not to confuse opinion leaders with those with the loudest voice.

Adopters are those who you are encouraging to implement your innovation into practice in their own organisation. They are often the front line staff who deliver the service on a day to day.

Groups includes professional and social groups such as professional and trade associations and societies. Don’t forget there are a large number of professional groups and societies who now have a presence on Social Media such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook to name a few.

It is important however to tailor your message to your audience and be honest about your innovation and what you are trying to achieve.

How long should you allow for an adoption to embed into practice?

Ensuring Continued Success

Service innovation should be seen as a continuous rather than a discreet project(s). It is important to continue to measure and evaluate the long term impact of your innovation and also to consider the importance of continual innovation and improvement. In order to do this you should use a Model of improvement. A model of improvement helps you understand what you are trying to accomplish, how you will know that an innovation is an improvement and what innovations will result in improvement. The PDSA cycle which we looked at in Step 3.10 is central to measuring the success of your innovation. A typical PDSA cycle is shown in the figure below, and is also available in the Downloads section.

PDSA cycle © adapted from East London NHS Foundation Trust

While each PDSA cycle is a discrete step, you can combine repeated PDSA cycles to continually evaluate and fine tune your innovation to achieve your overall aim.


Reflect on how you plan to measure the long term impact of your innovation. Share your thoughts in the comments section. Have other learner made suggestions you have not considered?

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This article is from the free online course:

Understanding Innovation in the Healthcare Sciences

Manchester Metropolitan University

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