Understanding The Pillars of Innovation Education: Nurses in Perspective

Are you a registered nurse? What do you know about innovation? This article paints the picture and describes the subject of innovation, relating it to the health care sector while putting registered nurses close to mind.
Understanding The Pillars of Innovation Education: Nurses in Perspective – Part i
Ayinla Daniel. RN.

“Learning and innovation go hand in hand. The arrogance of success is to think that what you did yesterday will be sufficient for tomorrow.”

William Pollard

Permit me to begin by quoting Debbie Kantor, APRN, Cofounder at Hero Medical, awardee of the Johnson & Johnson Nurses Innovate QuickFire Challenge in Peri-operative Care.

I would also tell myself, and younger nurses just beginning their innovation path, that it’s okay to be scared. Innovation is a journey different for everyone. Keep a journal and write down the good, the bad and the ugly. Fellow nurses of all stages can be a great resource. Find a champion who believes in you and the potential impact of your idea.

Debbie Kantor, APRN

The clinical role of the Registered Nurse places them in a strategic position that gives them unique abilities due to proximity and constant interaction with the patient/client.

The Registered Nurse, by virtue of this role, is best stationed to come up with novel ideas, innovative solutions that are first patient/client-centred – safe, affordable, effective/efficient.

Registered Nurses are encouraged to grow into this awareness, that they can do much more in the world of health care innovation. The methods, procedures, systems, styles, products and services we see out there in the world of health care can be improved upon or replaced with better ideas.

For so long, nurses have been blind to the opportunities that abound in the wide world of health care innovation. But the landscape gradually changes, as more registered nurses begin to understand that innovation is definitely a vital part of their professional roles.

We are irresponsible professionals, if we do not get bothered by the inefficiencies that plague our health care sector. It is your duty, to think of ways, of methods of styles, of ideas that can be injected into our health care systems to make it more effective, to make health care delivery efficient, putting the patient/client in front, making it safe and affordable for every class of patient/client.

Innovation is for everybody, for anyone who is genuinely passionate about making things work, not just making it work, but making it work better.

Why Innovation?

Innovation, a subject many do not really understand, due to its somewhat complex nature or because we do not give this topic enough study time or, on the other hand, people feel it is a term best suited for the business world – entrepreneurs are the ones who should be bothered about the world of innovation, well, there may be some atom of truth in this, but we have forgotten that the soul of entrepreneurship is embedded deep in the desire to make life better for us all, and deep down within you, I know you want to make life better for more people.

Happily, many different minds have been able to present their own definition of what innovation is, and I have been able to study a whole lot of definitions of innovation and I am delighted to present these definitions and some of my findings to you.

Look at these five [5] definitions of innovation, and also take some time to examine my own comments:

Turning an idea into a solution that adds value from a customer’s perspective“. Nick Skillicorn.

Nick Skillicorn

Brilliant definition from Nick Skillicorn here. I like Nick [you will enjoy his podcasts], his approach to the subject of innovation is worth putting into consideration. From his definition, I would like to point your attention at some elements that you should look at closely – turning, idea, solution, value and customer’s perspective. These are key concepts that give us a solid representation of what innovation is. We won’t be talking much about these in this part. The next part will have us present more details about these concepts.

The next definition comes from David Burkus, a bestselling author and a key note speaker. Take a look at how Burkus defines innovation:

The application of ideas that are novel and useful. Creativity, the ability to generate novel and useful ideas, is the seed of innovation but unless it’s applied and scaled it’s still just an idea..

David Burkus

Now, we see Burkus bringing in new elements into the definition or description of innovation. He decided to include creativity, application and SCALING. key concepts that we are also going to be taking into serious consideration in the next part of this article. Hope you are following me? Keep following.

Very simply put, innovation is about staying relevant. We are in a time of unprecedented change. As a result, what may have helped an organization be successful in the past could potentially be the cause of their failure in the future. Companies need to adapt and evolve to meet the ever changing needs of their constituents..

Stephen Shapiro

I really admire the perspective of Stephen Shapiro. He went ahead to admonish companies that take innovation seriously to stay relevant. I am trying to bring out all these ideas to help us understand what innovation is, so that we will be able to handle it appropriately should we decide to start taking it serious, using the knowledge to help us in the health care sector. As usual, I will not go into much details now, I will preserve all details for the next part of this article. Stay with me.

An innovation is a feasible relevant offering such as a product, service, process or experience with a viable business model that is perceived as new and is adopted by customers.

Gijs Van Wulfen

Gijs Van Wulfen puts the customer in perspective. There is actually no need to innovate if there are no customers to influence. In the health care sector, our customers are those who are ill, not just those who are ill or sick, but clients who want to stay healthy. So we should be thinking about innovations in preventive practices, health promotion, treatment and other vital aspects.

In a way, every human being is a customer to health services. More of this in the next part of the article.

And finally, kelvin Mcfarthing leaves us with his own definition that puts the organisation in perspective.

“The introduction of new products and services that add value to the organisation.

Kevin Mcfarthing

The subject of innovation might look like a complex concept, but in its entirety, innovation sits on the broad idea of “Doing something new that has value.” newness and value are two elements we will always come across while we talk about the topic of innovation.

What Is Education?

Education on the other hand, what do you think education is? But before you start to think about that, I want you to have this one word in mind – learning. Registered Nurses need more education on the subject of innovation. For too long, this tribe has been neglected, their potentials have been buried for years, but in this age, we have been able to discover what they can do for the health care sector – they are instrumental in the game of innovation.

Innovation has to be taught to the registered nurses in languages that they can understand. Using methods that they will be able to blend with. Nurses are a beautiful set of people, who give their all to their craft but are barely recognised and properly compensated. I am not just talking because I read it somewhere, but I write from my own experiences and exposures as a registered nurse.

What is education? Like I said earlier, that if we want to talk about education, we must be ready to talk about everything learning. Education is learning, and learning is education. When you talk about education, another important item that comes to mind is ‘knowledge’.

Injecting knowledge into the ready minds of learners is education.

Innovation Education

The act of exposing one to the knowledge that enhances understanding of the concept of innovation. This happens to be my own definition of innovation education. What I wish to achieve writing these articles on innovation education, is to awaken Registered Nurses in Nigeria and Africa to the realities and opportunities that abound in the world of health care innovation.

In Africa, the land is green, green with opportunities that only very few can see. And one way that we can make more people see this opportunities is by creating avenues that they can learn about the methods of discovering the hidden opportunities in various fields, in this case, the health care sector.

The more avenues and ports that we create, the faster will be our ascension to the top, in terms of health care innovations in Africa. We must be ready to help more people see and understand the needs in the fields of health care innovation. I must let you know that there are people who have the necessary skill and energy, but all that they are currently lacking is the direction, the motivation, they need enabling environments, atmospheres that can incubate the greatness that lies within them. This is what I seek to achieve with my writings and with all that I do in here in Care City.

In the next part of this article, I will drag you deeper into my heart, and expose you to certain ideas that I have about developing the innovative capacities of Registered Nurses in Nigeria and Africa.

The Registered Nurse In Perspective.

Are Registered Nurses working hard enough to come up with innovative ideas for solving health care problems? Nurses may be doing all they can to provide clients/patients with safe care, but are they really thinking of ways of improving health care delivery?

What about the Sustainable Development Goals? Does this concept have any role to play in shaping the innovative path of the Registered Nurse? More of this discuss in another separate article.

Innovation, this is what Registered Nurses must be thinking about today, how to improve, look around them and critically think of ways to make health care safer, easier and cheaper. It is big work trying to write about health care innovation, not to talk of writing about Registered Nurses innovating, but I feel it is an area that has been relegated to the background, one forgotten and not given adequate attention. Especially in Africa, where the idea of innovation among Registered Nurses looks like an alien idea, a foreign gist.

Registered Nurses must begin to understand the nature of the education that will make them fully comprehend the wonderful concept of innovation, and with understanding this concept, comes the harvest of productivity, because they are able to act on the knowledge acquired; they have learnt, just as our opening quote said “Learning and innovation go hand in hand.”

“Innovation is seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody thought.”

Dr. Albert, Szent Gyorgi.

Now, to dwell on the core theme of this article; The Pillars of Innovation Education. I want you to pay close attention to this discuss, follow every definition and description and from it, bring out inspiration to help you begin your innovation journey – carve your niche and discover your path.

In this first part, I will not go into deep details, I will preserve the details for the next part, but in this part, I really want you to understand the core of what we are trying to talk about here.

Pillars of Innovation Education

• Minds and Hands

When the minds work, put the hands to work. Don’t just think about it, let your hands bring it to life. Many ideas, good ones still live comfortably in the heads of the initiator. Thinking about your ideas will never bring them to life. Or do you think that by mere thinking about these ideas, there will suddenly be an eruption from your head, letting the ideas out, like a mighty volcanic eruption in your skull! It will never happen. If we give you a hundred years to think about your ideas, these ideas will remain there, dormant, until you bring them to life by doing, taking action.

In the next part, I will talk more about this pillar, and I bet you will enjoy its inspiration.

• Teams, not individuals

In the innovation journey, it’s not all about you, it’s about your team, what you can do together. A tree that tries to make a forest will never succeed, even if it has many leaves and long branches. You need inputs from others who share your dreams and goals.

Good ideas have died, simply because the initiators thought that they could do it all by themselves. No, things don’t work that way. In the world of innovation, we are all like small blocks in a giant jigsaw puzzle. Our coming together is the only solution to making the puzzle complete. I feel like writing more here, but I will hold on, and spill it all out in the next part of the article.

• Cross-Disciplinary Collaboration

Ideas coming from various fields will make it possible for your own idea to stand strong. Don’t neglect the insights and advice that come from other disciplines, listen to them and make use of them.

This pillar is very important in the field of health care innovations. The Registered Nurse must be able to recognise the disciplines that will play major roles in their innovative journeys and they should know how to interact with them, understand their roles and coordinate their activities around fulfilling the aims of their innovative visions. I really want to write more here, but I will defeat that temptation and include everything in the next article – hopefully.

These pillars are not the only ones that qualify as pillars of innovation education. There are other pillars, which we will definitely study in the next article.

In the next part, we will include more details on the descriptions of these pillars, we will now take some more time to focus on the roles of the Registered Nurse in the Game of Innovation and we will also take some time to study how Registered Nurses can cultivate the innovative culture.

Do stay with us, see you soon.


Featured Image Photo Credit: Diego PH | Unsplash


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