Scaling innovation twitter chat

news | Words Sarah Ward | 16 Mar 2018

On Thursday 15 March Q Community hosted a Twitter chat with David Albury and Tim Horton, discussing how innovations are successfully scaled in the NHS.

Following the successful launch of the report Against the odds: Successfully scaling innovation in the NHS‘ earlier this year, Innovation Unit’s David Albury and The Health Foundation’s Tim Horton joined Q Community for a Twitter chat to further discuss findings. The chat had over 150 contributors interested in successfully scaling innovation. A summary of the key discussion points can be found here.

“Often we forget to really address the contextual issues, we focus on the innovation rather than all the surrounding conditions.”David Albury
Board Director, Innovation Unit


Through a public crowd sourcing campaign and an expert working group, the report and its authors identified a shortlist of 10 innovations that have successfully scaled across the NHS in recent years. From which, they identified 8 key enablers for scale.


The research calls on system leaders and policymakers to do more to create the right environment for scaling innovations. Ways to do this include the following.

  • The ‘adopters’ of innovation need greater recognition and support. The current system primarily rewards innovators, but those taking up innovations often need time, space and resources to implement and adapt an innovation in their own setting.
  • It needs to be easier for innovators to set up dedicated organisations or groups to drive innovation at scale. Scaling innovation can be a full-time job, and difficult to do alongside front-line service delivery. Dedicated organisations are often needed to consciously and strategically drive scaling efforts, including when innovators ‘spin out’ from the NHS.
  • System leaders need to take more holistic and sophisticated approaches to scaling. Targets and tariffs are not a magic bullet for scaling; while they can help, they don’t create the intrinsic and sustained commitment required to replicate new ideas at scale. Different approaches are needed, including articulating national and local health care priorities in ways that create strategic opportunities for innovators, and using commissioning frameworks to enable, rather than hinder, the sustainable spread of innovations.


If you have developed a new solution that you need help to scale, or if you are looking to adopt a new solution from elsewhere, we’d love to hear from you. Please contact Heather Rollinson, our Director of Innovation Consultancy, or read more about our approach to scaling in this blog: New solutions, impact at scale: innovation for the many not the few.