Image of a garden with "NHS" visible in the grass

Evaluating the Adopter Role in the NHS Innovation Accelerator Programme

The NIA (NHS Innovation Accelerator Programme) is a programme of support for innovators who have demonstrated that their products have the potential to provide benefit within the NHS. The Institute was invited to evaluate nine applications of the innovators’ products not from the perspective of the innovators but from the perspective of the NHS organisations that were adopting their products.

The focus was not, for example, on the initial application of a new form of digital technology but on its subsequent delivery in a different part of the NHS. The results showed the work that was required by stakeholders in the NHS organisations to achieve adoption. We adopted a ‘lock and key’ metaphor to describe the need for a match to be obtained between the way the NHS organisation worked (‘the lock’) and the way the innovative product worked (‘the key’).

For adoption to be successful there had to be adaptation in both. For adoption to occur in a complex organisation it was also necessary to have more than one ‘champion’ for the innovation in the adopting organisation: it often needed a concerted and persistent programme of work by a variety of stakeholders to achieve sustained adoption.


The report is available at:


Two of the case studies are discussed in more detail in:

Eason K., Hoare A. and Maton-Howarth W. (2021) ‘Getting the benefits from connecting digital health applications to complex healthcare systems’ In Soares M. Rebelo F & Ahram T. (eds) ‘Handbook of Usability and User -Experience: London, Taylor & Francis Vol1, Chapter 10.