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Innovation4Care - User driven innovation in the healthcare sector

  • Published 01/10/2007
  • Last updated 14/09/2012
Research driven innovation and applied research has for decades been very common in life science. In the healthcare sector, the tradition for working systematically with innovation is much weaker, but new trends strongly indicate that user driven innovation requires increased attention especially by the public healthcare system, including hospitals, for the following reasons: Patients have an increasing purchasing power and have become more active, knowledgeable and responsible for their own treatment, which leads to a demand of high quality and good service.


From 01/10/2007
To 31/03/2010

The personnel at the hospitals (lead users) have comprehensive experience and competence, which is not systematically utilized at present.

New technology and service must:

  • increase usability as well as guarantee quality and provide against misuse;
  • be seen as a part of an entire treatment concept, where collaboration or new division of labour between patients, doctors and nurses will emerge. New healthcare concepts, new user interfaces, pervasive healthcare or even the virtual hospital will emerge.

Therefore, access to knowledge about the needs and preferences of the patients and the health care organisations will become an even more critical factor. Hospitals have access to information about the patients and the treatment concepts, but the approach is often fragmented with a scientific or medical approach. In other words there is a critical lack of awareness, working methods (analytical tools), innovative cultural and organisational settings to address user driven innovation with the aim of achieving better healthcare and commercial results.

In this project's approach it is assumed that successful user driven innovation has to be based on an in-depth understanding of

  • the users’ needs;
  • new technology;
  • market potentials and obstacles.

Project aims
Disclosing the patients’ latent needs and demands, the patient will be involved in several ways such as dialogue groups (user labs), through observation, interview, questionnaires or more indirectly through Patients Associations. Further, research will be carried out to reveal innovations already made by the patients themselves – and to map potential areas for future patient-initiated innovation.

The professional personnel will be encouraged to develop new service concepts as well as new technical products. The personnel will, among others, be involved in innovation through the tool called crowd sourcing, which helps organisations exploit a pool of talent and ideas and also helps avoid failure of new products and services. In Crowd sourcing, each member of the “crowd” may put forth an insignificant contribution to the total outcome, but the grand total of all contributions amounts to a considerable difference.

How, and to what extent the patient and the personnel will be involved may vary between the individual pilot projects.

The overall objectives are:

  • Introduce user driven innovation as a strategic objective and a management tool for improving quality and adaptability for the healthcare sector to meet new demands and challenges in the market.
  • Create innovative workplaces in healthcare by putting the user in the centre of business.
  • Involve the life science industry to the benefit of industrial competitiveness.
  • Highlight user driven innovation as a focal point for innovation policy.

The operational objectives are:

  • Develop analytical tools for the purpose of identifying patients’ latent preferences and needs.
  • Develop organisational or working methods and tools, including crowd sourcing, for the purpose of an active involvement of the professional personnel in innovation.
  • Identify obstacles and barriers for introducing user driven innovation in the healthcare sector and develop methods to overcome e.g. financial and economical, organisational, cultural or regulatory barriers.
  • Create an innovative environment based on communication and trust between the healthcare sector, patients, industry, researchers and policy makers as well as on strategic alliances between parties.

Project name: Innovation4Care - User driven innovation in the health care sector

Project duration: October 2007 - March 2010

Project report:

Final report from this project

Summary of the project results.

Project manager:
Stina Gestrelius, Medicon Valley Academy

Project participants:
Region Midtjylland, represented by Jens Peter Jensen (project owner),
Region Skåne, represented by Ronnie Halvardsson,
Helse-Bergen/Innovest, represented by Jens Reigstad,
Centre for Pervasive Healthcare, 
Hybrid State,
Medicon Valley Alliance, represented by Stina Gestrelius (project manager),
Sygna Business Development