Post by Dr. William Maton-Howarth
Adoption of innovation in the NHS
The adoption of new technologies and innovation in the NHS is a challenge, with many barriers along the way from early stage development to full scale implementation and delivery of all of the potential benefits. The BI were commissioned by the NHS Innovation Accelerator (NIA) in March 2018 to undertake a rapid study focused on improving our understanding of the organisational processes involved in adopting innovative developments. A report on this work has now been published providing new insights into how decisions are made within NHS organisations.
NHS Innovation Accelerator Case Studies
Through in-depth case studies of nine innovations our research has explored:
- How and why organisations take up an innovation
- The enabling factors which facilitate the uptake and embedding of an innovation
- The impacts of adopting an innovation on organisational practices
The approach we adopted included an examination of eight theoretical perspectives in the literature on innovation adoption. These were then used to guide our interview questions as well as providing a lens through which we analysed the data gathered from the interviews.
Innovation Adoption Theory
In capturing these real-world case-studies we have gained new insights into how the organisational context plays a significant part in adoption and we highlight in the report a number of recurrent themes relating to the effective spread of innovation across the NHS.
Our analysis is organised into three sections:
- the adoption journey,
- the adoption network, and
- common tasks in the adoption journey.
Key Adoption Themes
Some of the key themes emerging from our work include: the complex nature of adoption; the dynamic and non-linear process of adoption within organisations; the need for mutual adaption and iteration between the organisational context and the innovation to facilitate adoption; the facilitating role of multiple champions operating inside and outside the adopting organization; and the interplay of push and pull factors that supports implementation and builds the capabilities of both the adopting organisation and the innovator.