What is the ‘Innovation Crunch’?
This is the point where innovation stalls; where structural issues mean sheer effort, grit, and money aren’t enough anymore to make meaningful progress. For a start-up, it’s where the uptake of their innovation dries up no matter how much effort is expended. For an investor, it’s when an exciting prospect appears to plateau unexpectedly and then consider down rounds. For health systems, it’s when technology has to be selected but the criteria are unclear or when it has been deployed but people just aren’t using it. Different factors experience an innovation crunch in different ways, but it’s always around progress slowing down to a crawl.
Why is it so important to avoid an ‘innovation crunch’?
We face the greatest workforce challenge in the history of modern healthcare and also have to consider population health and health equity while keeping costs down. We cannot navigate a sustainable way out of this crisis while doing what we’ve always done.
Innovation is the answer, and we’ve never needed it in healthcare as much as we do today, but it is harder than ever before to select or scale it.
What causes it?
The ‘innovation crunch’ stems from many factors. For those looking for new innovation, there are often too many to consider, so much noise, and not enough differentiation or robust evidence for their claims. Investors are trying to pick the winners, but it’s not always clear who will win and who will stall. There’s also not enough investment capital for all. Most innovators need to achieve considerable scale to escape endless rounds of capital investment, but this isn’t possible if health systems aren’t in a position to expose and validate their needs so start-ups can align.
How do we escape the Innovation Crunch?
The simple answer is that we need momentum so we can push through these barriers; we need ‘innovation velocity’. This helps us get unstuck when progress slows, to ensure that start-ups scale, investors win, and healthcare systems succeed.