Quite often the three modes of innovation – user/producer/collaborative – (1) are seen as substitute instead of complementary strategies. So what should be done according to each innovation mode in the design and provision of a particular product or service? The question is not deciding which is the right mode for our organization but how to manage the blending of the three basic modes of innovation. The convenient interaction among them should maximize the innovation outputs.
Health professionals and patients, despite differences, may be considered individual innovators while the whole health system is in fact a huge collaborative space for innovation. Hospitals and healthcare centres along whit industry behave basically as independent producers in terms of innovation.
Health professionals and patients have different incentives for innovation. Besides transcendent motivations, free diffusion of innovation may increase reputation and have positive network effects for health professionals. For patients and relatives the interest in innovating is directly related with their need to explore and check any reasonable opportunity related with their health problem. Hospitals and health centres have nowadays limited incentives for innovation. Industry adoption of blended innovation is a condition for survival.
A blending strategy for innovation in healthcare
The opportunities for innovation in healthcare are countless and their prioritization is partially driven by decisions of professionals and by the stress and support of patients. This is the consequence of capillarity of decision-making in the health area. It does not mean that hospitals or health centres have a subsidiary role but contrary the success will depend greatly on the capacity of all actors to play its role in a blended innovation space. Healthcare organizations are open to the acquisition of new ideas or products and much of the innovations in the healthcare system are ‘open’.
The pressure from governments to industry to contain their healthcare bills may be seen negatively or as a great opportunity for innovation. The industry involvement in healthcare innovation is the next link of the chain. Industry has to develop a “Market Access” mind-set to proactively engage with the diverse stakeholder groups to keep up with their future needs and developing an ability to understand and embrace blended innovation.