A new report from The King’s Fund explores the evolution of the Innovation Agency since it began seven years ago as ‘a curious experiment’.
The Innovation Agency was one of 15 Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs) set up to focus on spreading innovations, to improve health outcomes and generate economic growth.
Now, the AHSNs are firmly established as the innovation arm of the NHS and key connectors with businesses and researchers, to speed up the adoption of innovations in health and care.
King’s Fund Projects Director Ben Collins was commissioned by the Innovation Agency to produce an independent report about how the organisation has evolved and his narrative shines a light on some of the challenges and the changes over the past seven years.
He interviewed more than 40 staff and stakeholders earlier this year, just before the pandemic, before producing his reflections and conclusions.
He writes: “The AHSNs must be an almost unique experiment in relatively unstructured approaches to transformation in the NHS: What happens if, rather than defining precisely what needs to happen, you give people some resources and a degree of flexibility to work out how best to support a local health system?”
Ben’s report then explores the ways in which the Agency developed – and the experiences of staff, entrepreneurs, academics and NHS partners, with conclusions about the key factors in the Innovation Agency’s success.