To realise higher value, companies and organisations can no longer rely on limited disease-based reductionist thinking, on narrow outcome-over-cost measures of value, on technology-driven innovation, on piecemeal ideas-first methods or on serendipitous, safe-to-fail experimentation.
In short, a new, more expansive ecosystem perspective of value is needed – one that achieves higher forms of systemic value on a more sustained, viable and adaptive basis.
Today, just as healthcare markets are evolving rapidly, healthcare technology innovators must also evolve their innovation approach if they are to secure market entry, revenues and growth whilst improving health ecosystem, practitioner and patient outcomes and reducing costs.
In any ecosystem, we identify seven classes of value proposition that may be designed and introduced, whether individually or in combination. These are: Value-in-function, value-in-experience, value-in-sensing, value-in-learning, value-in-flow, value-in-diversity and value-in-transformation. Each is distinguished by the purpose, nature and form of the value embodied in the proposition, and the nature of outcomes or value that may be realised in the ecosystem.
Today’s complex health and care systems are buckling under the pressures of chronic problems and ever-tightening resources. Whilst there is always optimism that some new technologies will come to the rescue, many are not adopted, do not scale and fail to realise their ambitions. They do not create enough of the right value to make a big enough difference.
Whilst the basic principles and logic of co-creation are widely understood, little attempt has been made to identify and distinguish the different styles of co-creation that companies can deploy. In this article, I make an attempt to address this shortcoming by defining eight styles of customer co-creation along with a few examples of companies practising each.
Often, I get asked how I define a health ecosystem to frame problem enquiry, find opportunities and inform system-level value design, innovation and strategy. In this quick piece, I provide a summary of the key parameters (or types of context) I use.
What can design thinking can do better to create more impact and value in complex systemic-level problems of the kind found in health and social care, the built and natural environment, education, global development and in many markets and industries. Despite best efforts, many design thinking-led solutions are adding only limited value in such contexts. They suffer from low take-up, do not scale and are not deployed on a sustained basis.
Design thinkers face particular challenges when seeking to intervene to improve value and outcomes in complex adaptive ecosystems such as cities, health and social care, education, energy, food production and distribution, the built and natural environment and development. In such systems, the root causes of problems and the origins of poor outcomes are often hard to identify and difficult to address due to their nested, interconnected and dynamic nature, as well as the fact that they consist of a diversity of humans, technologies and resources whose actions and effects are not wholly predictable.
Despite the promise of rapid technological, medical and scientific advances, health spending is growing and increasingly wasted whilst outcomes plateau or decline. Patients and professionals are ever more dissatisfied whilst their expectations from new technologies, sales visits and the media rise. Conflict and frustration mount whilst underlying problem root causes become more deep-seated and distant from view.
The rapid transition to a digital, connected many-to-many world has led to the growing use of the ecosystem metaphor in business and society. Drawing on ecology and its study of the interaction of species with each other and their environment, human ecosystems – health, business, transport, cities, education etc. – consist of actors (people and organisations) engaged in activities of collaboration, competition and ongoing adaptation to achieve an individual or collective purpose.
How can design thinking step-up and play a bigger role in making more effective systems innovation and intervention? For me, the answer lies in innovating the methods and units of analysis deployed for identifying and defining problems. Let me explain.