COMPLEXITY – mitigating risks


Health and social care systems are made up of many components that interact with each other and evolve dynamically.

How these systems respond to health technology innovation cannot be fully predicted or controlled. AHSNs can help you identify and understand complexity and take steps to reduce the risks to your project. The first step is taking complexity into account at the planning stage. Then it needs to be demonstrated or validated in the real world.

Our experience of working with industry suggests that complexity is best approached in a semistructured and iterative way. We start with describing what success looks like when your product or service has been adopted. We’ll help you consider questions such as:

  • who are the people or patients with the condition who will benefit from the innovation?
  • who are the health care staff who will interact with those people and the health technology?
  • who will need to agree the budget to cover the costs that will enable the product or service to be purchased?

Separately, we will need to understand the project path to achieve that success. How will the opportunity be perceived? How will its impact be seen? Can the product be tried out in advance? Can it be scaled over time in a controlled manner? How disruptive will this change be?

Only when you have your first full scale adoption will you and potential users and buyers have confidence that the benefits are realisable. At this point, you’ll also be able to fully account for the costs. Even at this stage, you will need to continue to validate the product or service to support wider spread, further develop your product and ensure the product and your business are sustained.

Many innovators underestimate how complex a health innovation project can be. AHSNs can help you to understand complexity, giving your project a better chance of success.

Research published by Professor Trish Greenhalgh has informed our approach to complexity. Watch her video ‘how can we make technology work for us in healthcare?’ or read more about her work on adoption theory here.


Get in touch and find out how we can help.

Market Insight

Innovation Surgeries