OSF HealthCare Mission Partners engaged in Innovation exercise

Engaging Mission Partners in innovation

As we built the concept for OSF Innovation, we knew we didn’t want innovation limited to one building. Our goal was to connect Mission Partners across the organization to this type of work and encourage them to generate their own ideas to improve health care.

Since launching in 2016, we’ve been working to bring this plan to fruition. It began with defining innovation as translating ideas into value for our patients and the communities we serve.

We then built an ecosystem of expertise to bring solutions from idea to integration and potentially commercialization. Our leadership team established partnerships with incubators and accelerators to connect us to emerging technologies and devices. We also partnered with those who specialize in guiding ideas through the innovation process.

From there, we determined the success of our innovative efforts would be amplified through the engagement of our Mission Partners and alignment with the strategic goals of our organization. We then created the Office of Innovation Management function to support the ideas of our Mission Partners.

We benchmarked with many other organizations inside and outside of health care to develop the intellectual property (IP) policy that would meet the needs of the entire Ministry. With all of that infrastructure in place, we could begin engaging our Mission Partners.

Building a culture of innovation

Some people believe innovation just happens. But contrary to that belief, innovation requires rigor through every part of the process. The Office of Innovation Management (OIM) specializes in helping Mission Partners explore ideas, apply the IP policy, jump start research projects and commercialize innovative concepts.

In 2018, the team created an intake process for Mission Partners to submit their ideas. Through heavy education and marketing of the OIM, a handful of Mission Partners submitted ideas.

OSF Innovation then took its campaign wider by launching a pilot challenge to encourage individuals to share their concepts for transforming health care. Hundreds of proposals were contributed, and many others built off of those ideas.

Three groups got the chance to create final business proposals. And one team’s solution ended up being a central part of the OSF HealthCare response to COVID-19.

The success of this pilot challenge will likely lead to broader competitions throughout the Ministry. Mission Partners also continue to submit ideas through the OIM.

Benefits so far

Our mindset is that our Mission Partners have the best ideas to improve health care because they live it every day. And now we have the structure and expertise in place to help them translate their ideas into value for the benefit of the organization and the patients and communities we serve.

Since 2018, 134 ideas have been submitted through the Office of Innovation Management and 25 disclosures have been received. More than 250 Mission Partners have engaged with the group. Our portfolio includes about 20 active opportunities in all stages of maturity.

More importantly, we are creating a culture where Mission Partners feel empowered to shape the future of health care. Stay tuned for our next blog, where we will discuss how Mission Partners are guided through the innovation process.