Many companies that come to KSS have exciting and innovative ideas for products and services that can make a difference to the NHS and Social Care services. One of the first questions we ask is “So what?” (in a friendly and professional way of course). The reason for this is that no matter how good the product is or how creative its features are, if it doesn’t solve a problem, it won’t be taken up by the system.
This means that the very first point to consider is “What is the specific problem that exists in health and social care that I would like to solve?”
This of course leads to other questions around how can you solve it, what solutions are best, who does it solve the problem for, and indeed is the problem significant enough to need a new solution, but we’ll come on to these later. What you’re aiming to do as your first step is to move from “I’ve got a fantastic app that will support people with their mental health”, for example, to “mental health services in the UK are under extreme pressure, leading to fewer people being able to access early support, long wait times and an increase in people requiring crisis services. This leads to poorer outcomes for patients, additional stress and workload for clinicians and increased costs to the system.”
It’s important to do your research when establishing the nature and extent of the problem. It can be easy to draw from personal experience, or to make assumptions about what’s happening in the system. Gathering the statistics and figures, and talking to clinicians, patients and carers, can help you to get a solid understanding of where the problems lie, which ones are having the most impact and who is being affected.
Once you have established and clearly articulated the problem you are solving, you can then come on to the specifics of how you are going to solve it. It’s important to keep in mind where your particular product or service can add value – we call this a Value Proposition. In the Industry and Tech Nav team, we support companies and innovators to write their Value Propositions in such a way that it will be clear to potential commissioners or purchasers, why they might be interested – the “so what?”
We act as a critical friend, sometimes posing challenging questions and getting you to think about issues such as who your competitors might be, and whether the impact of your solution is significant enough to make the costs worthwhile, both in terms of money but also in time, staff resource and any disruption. We can also advise you on which areas are a priority both locally and nationally, which is a vital part of demonstrating value.
Our role is to work with companies and innovators to bring the most valuable products into the system, with the aim of supporting company and wider economic growth and also to help the NHS and Social Care to get the innovations that will help them give the best and most efficient ways to provide care.
If you would like to find out more about how we can support you, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
By Fiona Campbell, Programme Manager at KSS AHSN, Industry and Tech Nav team