In their words

β€œJan quickly grasped the complexities surrounding health services and made sense of how to use, or move, some of these in order to connect with design. She worked with a varied group of people to understand their needs and then provided us with guidance, which has helped enormously with procurement decisions. Jan demonstrated her ability to work closely with other designers and with a core commissioning team to get maximum potential out of the relationship. She not only looks after the detail but also has an eye for strategic opportunities.”

Dr Lynne Maher
Director for Innovation, Ko Awatea, New Zealand
(former Head of Innovation Practice,
NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement)

In brief

There is a real creative and managerial challenge in ensuring an organisation as complex as the NHS continually embraces innovation and keeps improving delivery to patients. I was asked to work with the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement on a range of initiatives aimed at reducing waiting times, as well as improving their design management and communications planning processes.

The NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement was established to promote innovation and spread best practice throughout the NHS. Over the course of a year, I worked as a consultant reporting to Dr Lynne Maher, Head of Innovation Practice.

One of the key commitments of the NHS is that no patient should wait longer than 18 weeks to get from GP referral to hospital treatment. I was involved in driving this government project across a range of initiatives. This included advising on the creation of a tender document for a modular, web-based service improvement tool, to be used by hospital trusts. I also helped identify other products to support NHS Primary Care Trusts in meeting their waiting times target, including organising a brainstorming session to generate a toolkit of ideas. I then steered the production of the guides, products and services that sprang out of the session.

At the time I became involved, the NHS Institute had in place an 80-agency roster online tendering system. I was involved in reviewing the system through interviews with the roster designers and commissioners. From this exercise I helped improve the way the web-based portal worked and identified ways to promote and explain the roster process – including learning events, hands-on central support and newsletters.

Throughout this relationship, I was impressed by the high level of scientific knowledge and intelligence among the people I was advising. My role was to contribute a complementary skillset in design and communications, which my client recognised would add an extra dimension to their important work in this area.