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Encouraging Innovation and Improving the Implementation of Clinical Technology

We will create a Digital Innovations pathway that connects people who have ideas for digital improvement projects with digital services teams, selecting the best ideas and enabling effective project delivery.

Read comments 15
  • Shortlisted idea
  • 2022

Meet the team


  • Jeff Boateng - Executive Director for Digital and Informatics
  • Ed Fernandez - Head of Digital PMO

What is the challenge your project is going to address and how does it connect to the theme?

The challenge we face is how we use digital, data-driven, and technological innovations to improve the delivery of mental healthcare.

We are a relatively small mental health Trust, serving a diverse London adult population, allied to a global university, situated close to world leading life sciences and health providers. We are a Trust full of innovators. The challenge is to create live wire between the clinical workforce and digital services so that organisational pain points are correctly uncovered, and safe and sustainable solutions are put into place.

At present there is a sense of digital projects being landed on the clinical workforce from “high above”, with consequent failure to address core problems. The Innovations Funnel at the heart of this project turns this on its head, by introducing direct lines of communications between the workforce with problems, and the QI and digital services team who can help solve these problems.

What does your project aim to achieve?

The aims are:

  • To establish a Trust wide “Innovations Forum”
  • To encourage our clinical/operational workforce to present their ideas for digital improvement to the Innovations Forum.
  • To develop a transparent process for selecting the best ideas (those that are safe, add value, and show evidence of sustainability).
  • To develop the best ideas so they are well articulated in an “idea on a page” document, which gives a high-level view of solution, key risks/benefits, financial estimates and workforce impact.
  • To present “idea on a page” documents to clinical and nursing Directors for further selection and input. If approved, this will be written out into a business case by the digital Project Management Office.
  • To track approved projects though stages of delivery, collecting data on this journey. To group and gain insights from projects not selected.
  • Finally, to develop and share resources to help our digital innovators succeed.

How will the project be delivered?

Key personnel

  • Recruitment of “digital improvement” fellow. We will use the funding to backfill a clinical post over a year to enable a clinician with dual interests in QI and digital to step forward and be supported to establish and embed the Innovations Forum.
  • Executive sponsorship for this project has been secured from the Executive Director of Digital Services and Informatics and the Medical Director.
  • Standing member of the Forum will include leaders from QI, clinical, digital and service user representation.

Key project outputs

  • Thematic analysis of Ideas brought to Innovation forum.
  • Tracking of Ideas through Innovation Funnel (see diagram attached) until approved for Digital PMO to start writing business cases. This will enable QI approach to acceleration.
  • Tracking business cases through stages of project delivery until closure.
  • Thematic analysis of realised ideas and real-world impact.
  • Develop a resource pack to enable innovators to bring forward their ideas and succeed.

How is your project going to share learning?

  • We will contribute to the Q community of learning – sharing our experience and learning (including stuff-that-didn’t-work) in webinars and blogs.
  • If successful we will look to blueprint on the NHS Futures Platform.
  • We will aim to share our experience and learning with our regional Mental Health Innovation Collaborative meeting (via UCLPartners)
  • We will share at ICS level within the North Central London digital community at meetings, including CIO and CCIO forums.

How you can contribute

  • We would be grateful for:
  • Feedback on the project idea.
  • Feedback on Innovation pathways that have been implemented in other Trusts and sharing experiences, learnings, and examples of best practice.
  • Help with championing, sharing, and spreading the resources we will develop to help colleagues who want to implement innovative ideas.
  • Participating in 'learning before', 'learning during' and 'learning after' knowledge sharing workshops.

Plan timeline

1 Jun 2022 Project Board formed
7 Jun 2022 Start literature review
14 Jun 2022 Collate experience from other organisations having started Innovations Funnels
21 Jun 2022 Start recruitment process for Digital Improvement Fellow
1 Sep 2022 Project team (including Digital Improvement Fellow) identified and formed
11 Sep 2022 Service user representation recruitment
25 Sep 2022 First Innovations Forum takes place
2 Oct 2022 Development of resources to support innovators
1 Nov 2022 First review/evaluation commences (first PDSA cycle)
14 Nov 2022 Share learning with Community
5 Dec 2022 Complete development of tracking system as projects move towards completion
1 Mar 2023 Commence second evaluation (six months)
3 Apr 2023 Publish evaluation report and host workshop with peer organisations


  1. Your project got one of my votes - definitely speaks to my staff enablement ethos and reflects the staff engagement literature. Good luck in the ballot! Best wishes Gillian

    1. Thank you so much for your comment and vote - yes - staff engagement and enablement is absolutely key.

  2. So pleased this proposal has been shortlisted - thank you to everyone who commented and helped to shape it. We look forward to more exchange of ideas in the weeks ahead !

  3. Guest

    Gillian Janes 3 months, 1 week ago

    This is a really interesting project. it seems there may be synergy with our project co-designing resources to enable organisations to learn from and embed staff perspectives (working with frontline, executive and strategic eg NHSx collaborators) when developing digital healthcare services. Happy to link up if this is of value.

    1. Great - I'll keep an eye out for your project updates and please get in touch as you feel appropriate. My email is if that's easier.

    2. Thanks Gillian - yes - we would certainly be interested in linking up, KR Laurie

  4. Guest

    I can see a real need for this within our organisation, and this would bring about a more transparent and responsive mechanism for optimising our clinical workflows. All to often, the tech can be a barrier to quality of care, and the best and simplest ideas come from those working closer to the frontline. There is a perception that a lot of change is "done" to nursing staff without proper engagement, this would enable a stronger voice for clinical and operational teams to steer the digital agenda for our organisation.

    I would offer my strong support for this initiative, and particularly interested in the stream that develops others in digital / innovation / transformation skills.

    I would be keen to see the evaluation of care metrics within these innovations, e.g. patient outcomes, waiting times, length of stay etc.

    1. Thanks for your comments and support Dean

      I agree, identifying quality & improvement measures for innovations that go through the funnel would need to be a key part of the process

  5. Hi Laurine,

    My team run a similar 'innovation pipeline' for Oxford University Hospitals NHS FT. I'd be very happy to share the criteria on which we triage digital innovations if that would be helpful. Also very happy to do a knowledge exchange with your fellow (I'm sure we have things to learn too) if/when the project is up and running.


    1. Thanks Megan, that would be really helpful!

    2. Thanks Megan - that would be incredibly helpful - I will definitely reach out if/when the project takes off - thanks again !

  6. This sounds like a really interesting idea - best of luck! There are some similarities I think with this idea - they've mentioned a need to explore how front-line and lower-band staff members could be involved in identifying digital innovations and improvement. I wonder if it might be helpful to connect with them to see if you could help strengthen each others ideas on that front?

    1. Thank you - yes - good suggestion - I'll do that, thanks for the comment

  7. Like the idea of ensuring the workforce are well linked to digital developments, same as for any improvements really. Just wondering what the transparent process for selecting the best ideas will be? Will this be linked to organisational goals, ROI or something else?

    1. Thanks. Yes I'll expand some more on that

      - requirement for good fit with organisational clinical and digital strategy (the Innovations Forum panel will have in depth understanding of both)

      - will it get though basic governance process - most notably does the manufacturer have a completed DTAC (Digital Technology Assessment Criteria (DTAC) - Key tools and information - NHS Transformation Directorate ( And if so does it look ok from a DCB0129 perspective.

      - we realistically wont have been able to invest enough in the project at early stage to have something as detailed as a ROI. We'll have a "sense" of financial viability over product lifespan. I'm interested though in whether others would do an ROI and if so how/when ?


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