How is Innovation different from Continuous Quality Improvement

Innovation is opportunity-driven. There is always a need to identify, repair, or replace a defect. This need for continuous improvement is ongoing. Innovation does not replace this need, but does answer the need for continued growth through new opportunities. A healthy organization wants to grow, serve its patients well, and provide a reason for their loyalty and return. Innovation is not an “extension” of continuous improvement but an “expansion” of opportunities for the organization. It requires more than just a philosophical shift; it requires a different management approach.  

     The natural next question is how different? Briefly, management must do three things:

  1. Release the innate talent in the organization to make innovation a strategy for all departments, no matter the cultural differences;
  2. Provide a method to identify opportunities, evaluate these opportunities and, select those opportunities that meet future needs for growth and sustainment; and
  3. Separate innovation efforts from daily operations, routines, or practices.
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