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Innovation projects often focus on a single stage in the innovation cycle, and are then handed over to others to take things forward - at which point, important ideas, insights and commitment can get lost.

People Powered Results (PPR) aims to get round this challenge by getting frontline staff and decision makers to ‘own’ a problem right through the innovation cycle. It has been applied in several regions in England to various types of care, from unplanned admissions for frail elderly patients to a range of specialities within elective care.

People Powered Results workshop

The model empowers frontline staff to test different approaches and work across professional boundaries, within a defined period. Rather than ‘commissioning’ a solution, leaders are encouraged to engage in ‘permissioning’ - making it possible for frontline staff to try out new ways of working, for example different working hours, team composition, patient pathways, configuration of IT systems and collaboration with the voluntary sector.

PPR was co-designed by Nesta’s Health Lab and the Rapid Results Institute, a US non-profit. Each PPR ‘cycle’ involves a partnership between a particular regional health system and the PPR facilitating team. A cycle usually involves three phases: design, 100 day journey, and sustainability and dissemination.

The two-month design phase is focused on identifying problems and building consensus. The PPR team works with health system leaders (both local and national) to design a challenge to be posed to the frontline. Next, frontline teams convene at a two-day launch event to explore the ideas they want to prototype and set ‘stretch goals’ to keep them focused during their 100-day journey. Teams are encouraged to make these goals “unreasonable but realistic”.

The 100 day journey involves a process of on-the-fly ‘invention’, through frontline experimentation and learning. Teams are always multidisciplinary, bringing together staff from hospitals, primary care, the voluntary sector, and if appropriate, private providers such as care homes.

During the final sustainability and diffusion phase, frontline teams meet with system leaders to consolidate and distil learning, and explore sustaining and scaling the innovations that have emerged.

Image credit: Dan Farag