HHS Innovation Day: Innovation is a Force for Good

by Susannah Fox, Chief Technology Officer, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

photo credit: HHS Chris Smith

Recently, Secretary Burwell called on HHS employees to reaffirm our efforts to improve the Department and the way we deliver services to the public. She reminded us that when an individual has access to health care or the essential community services that we help provide, they feel more secure, stable and ready to face the significant challenges that we confront as a nation.

The work that we highlighted at our recent HHS Innovation Day sits squarely in that mission path. Innovation is a force for good in this Department and in the federal Government. I was honored to host this event and to help showcase the Department’s efforts to promote new approaches and creative thinking to our work.

Here are my take-aways:

1. Start small. Build up. Stay close to your customer.

Internal teams who were part of the HHS Ignite Accelerator, a three-month internal innovation program presented their final projects. Their work ranged from improving the Department’s consumer engagement efforts to a new system at the National Cancer Institute to collect data from patients and feed it directly into clinical research systems.

[SIDE NOTE — If you are interested in our Ignite Accelerator program, stay tuned for more information on our next round! ]

2. Innovation should be at the core of our efforts to strengthen public health

Dr. Califf shared his insights on innovation in health care and at the FDA.

HHS Innovation Day: Welcome & Keynote

3. Progress happens outside our comfort zone

A spirited discussion around impact, insights and lessons learned from colleagues who have used new approaches to tackle critical challenges at CDC, CMS, NIH, HRSA and the HHS Office of Global Affairs.

HHS Innovation Day: Panel Discussion

4. Be brave enough to bring your ideas forward. Creative thinking is a muscle we must exercise

In the morning, I had the privilege of interviewing Cristin Dorgelo, Chief of Staff at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) around creating change at scale across government which transitioned into a standing-room only introduction into design thinking in government led by Ideo.org Innovator-in-Residence Ann Kim.

We are living through an era of extraordinary change: from the advent of the internet to the spread of 3D printing to the genomic revolution. We need innovation to help transform health and health care for the better and for all. We need that just as much in government as we need it in the health care sector. That power sits within all of us and it starts with a willingness to learn more, to be open, and to say why not?

You can view all of the sessions from the afternoon portion of HHS Innovation Day here.

This is a cross post from HHS.gov.


Originally published at www.hhs.gov on July 28, 2016.