Tackling the spread of innovation, in the fishbowl, at AHRQ Innovations Exchange @AHRQIX

The Fishbowl

Asking someone, “how can that innovation spread,” is at times a mood depressor, at others just a really difficult question to answer, because innovators and leaders know that there are always hurdles to transplanting one innovation to another place, across a whole system. This is why I can imagine spending a whole day on this topic, as the AHRQ Innovations Exchange did yesterday, is a daunting, risky task, and yet it was extremely engaging and full of learning.

Photos are below – including the graphical recording of the findings (the first photo is of the last time I was at Westat, where the event was held…much different weather):

I loved what Steve Shields, who was one of the “sharks” in the tank said – he felt like Paula Abdul. The other sharks were there from organizations with the health system, health plan, entrepreneur, and venture capital. Very helpful to see innovation spread from all sides.

What was really interesting was that while the innovators were being grilled/coached by the sharks, those of us in observance were also having healthy side/learning conversations about the content and about our impression of the challenges of spread of innovation. The “bowl” laid things out in a really nice way to allow us to examine the issue from multiple perspectives. Bravo, AHRQ.

In terms of where innovaiton can come from, there’s a great example in the AHRQ Innovations Exchange, which now has 575 Innovations and 1,590 quality tools in it. The tools are in just about every topic of health and health care improvement, and many/most have solid data and organizational experience behind them. As Victor Montori, MD (@vmontori) said at one point, the issue is not one of lack of ideas.

To learn about the innovations discussed and the insights shared at the session, do a search on hashtag #scaleup on Twitter, or look at the Innovations Exchange twitter feed ( @AHRQIX ). The session was videotaped and will be made available on the Exchange website. One other resource that I learned about was the National Strategy for Quality Improvement in Health Care, there is one and you can access it here.

Oh and I can’t escape thanking Westat for having the infrastructure thing down – hashtag prepared, twitterfeed on screen, industrial strength wifi, accessible power outlets, every meeting should be so well managed.


Ted Eytan, MD