“Both innovation and improvement are change, and both are trying to make something better.
Improvement is iterative and typically incremental. Each cycle builds on the next. At the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), we talk about small tests of change and going incrementally forward — building confidence and removing the systematic defects to slowly shift the performance of the system. The mental model in improvement focuses on optimizing existing systems and eliminating defects. Innovation requires a different mental model — creation of something fundamentally new and different from what we’ve experienced before. A different process or end-result that can then be further optimized using improvement.
Going Beyond Improvement
When we’ve reached the limits of an incrementalist approach, and we’re still not exactly where we want to be, or when the context shifts significantly under our feet, or when our patients and end-users’ expectations change substantially, that’s where innovation plays a role.
The two methods work very well together at IHI because we can do incremental improvement work and reach a new level of system performance. If that’s not satisfying our goals or getting patient care to the next level, that’s where we know we need something different.
Whether it’s innovation, as it is classically understood, or improvement using the techniques of innovation to try to create that step change difference, having an understanding of both as levers for change is a distinct advantage in problem solving.”
The foregoing quote from a March 23, 2017, post entitled “What’s the Difference Between Innovation and Improvement?” to the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s blog by its Chief Innovation and Education Officer, Kedar Mate, (http://bit.ly/2no9upp) makes an important semantic distinction, but one on which few capitalize for the benefit of their focus domains. In fact, an implementation of the Cloud Healthcare Appliance Real-Time Solution as a Service (CHARTSaaS) reference architecture (RA) resolves the dilemma by providing an information technology (IT) enabled solution that is by definition innovative in its nature and its deliverables, and is designed to facilitate continuous improvement, both in processes and in medical knowledge accrual and application.
Please validate this proposition to your own satisfaction by reading the white paper here at http://bit.ly/2nhwqpd and then by reviewing the details of CHARTSaaS and the CHARTSaaS RA in these presentations: