At CHS we provide research, consulting, and learning support to help community organizations innovate for health improvement.  We use a proven framework we call the ‘community innovation model‘ to help our client partners:

  • Focus on community needs.
  • Create community impact.
  • Collaborate for synergy, spread, and scale.
  • Advocate for supportive system change.
  • Demonstrate value to communities, partners, and funders.

Wherever you may be in the innovation process, we are happy to meet you there. You can learn more about each element in the community innovation model below.

Community innovation begins with a focus on current and future community needs.  We help clarify this focus by facilitating a strategic assessment framed by five questions.  The process can be completed fairly quickly with one or two workshops and some focused research and analysis of community needs.  The five questions include:

What is our mission?

Who can we serve?

What are their current and anticipated needs?

What are our capabilities?

How could we make a positive difference?

The answers to these questions will help to clarify your strategic capabilities, and identify opportunities to innovate in ways that support community health and strengthen your organization.  With these opportunities in mind, you are ready to start the innovation process.

Contact us to learn more about CHS supports for strategic exploration

Having selected a focus, the next step is to create community impact by improving systems of services and supports.

Whatever the focus may be, the creative process works best when it is guided by a team process aimed at creating value for community members.  At CHS we teach and support a proven, four-step process as outlined below.  We can help you apply this process develop and implement any type of innovation that is important for your community and your organization.

Define.  Engage a team in defining the focus for innovation and the value you hope to create and deliver as a result of innovation.

Design. Engage the team in designing and testing innovation ideas until you find one with good potential for creating improvement.

Develop.  Develop the capabilities needed to implement the innovation, beginning with team knowledge and skills.

Deliver.  Implement and refine the innovation in a process of continuous learning and improvement.

Optimize.  Monitor community impact over time and make adjustments as needed to optimize value for community members.

In the process of innovation design it is not uncommon to hit a ceiling on possibilities because of limitations in the capabilities of any single organization. Here it is helpful to think about collaboration as a strategy for creating synergy and scale.

Contact us to learn more about CHS supports for innovation

Collaboration is key for maximizing community impact through synergy, spread, and scale. In our context:

  • Synergy means combining the strengths of different organizations to create a collective impact greater than what could be accomplished working in siloes.
  • Spread means engaging others in adopting or adapting the innovation.
  • Scale means expanding the reach of the innovation to help as many people as possible at an acceptable level of cost..

Collaboration works best when it is facilitated and supported with an efficient process that builds trust among the partners.  There is an art and science for supporting collaboration, and it has to be tailored for each situation.  We can help you:

  • Define the objectives for collaboration.
  • Engage key partners in collaboration.
  • Design a process for collaboration that emphasizes trust and authentic partnership.
  • Facilitate collaborative innovation by following the innovation process steps (define, design, develop, deliver, demonstrate.)
  • Capture and spread the insights, ideas, and breakthroughs shared by collaborative members.

One common result of collaboration is identification of system-level obstacles that get in the way of innovation to address community needs.   The collaborative experience can provide a creative starting point for addressing these obstacles through systems change.

Contact us to learn more about CHS supports for collaboration

System change is focused on creating supportive policies, structures, processes, and practices to enable innovation.  By nature, system transformation involves multiple stakeholders with an authentic commitment to collaborate for excellence and equity.

At CHS we have deep experience in in supporting system transformation by bringing people together for learning and action. We can help by facilitating the following steps in a system change effort.

Define the focus.  The first step is to define the focus for system change.  Here it is especially important to locate the focus for change within the right system setting, e.g., state policy, local government policy, federal policy, corporate policy, or another setting.

Engage key stakeholders. The next is to identify and engage key stakeholders who operate or experience the system. The range of stakeholders could include service recipients, service providers, public agency staff, and others with insight on how the system is working.

Understand the Current System. A third step is to deeply understand how the current system works, and confirm that understanding with key stakeholders.  Many system change efforts fall short for overlooking this key step.

Design improvements. Having described the current system, the next step is to design ideal system improvements.  Here it can be helpful to consider various stakeholders and their perspectives on the system as starting points for designing system improvements.

Collaborate for change. Equipped with a clear understanding of the current system and a set of ideal improvements, the next step is to collaborate for system transformation.  The particulars will vary depending on the focus, but integrity, information, and community perspective are always key assets in a successful transformation effort.

Contact us to learn more about CHS supports for system transformation

Demonstrating value is essential for sustaining community innovations that help community members accomplish their goals.  Demonstrating value involves a strategic combination of evaluation and communication to help key stakeholders understand the value of the program or service of interest..  We can help you:

  • Identify key audiences (such as funders) that need to understand the value of the program or service.

  • Create authentic messages about value that are likely to resonate with key audiences.

  • Develop key insights and indicators that illustrate the value messages.

  • Communicate value in ways that work for key audiences.

Contact us to learn more about CHS supports for demonstrating value

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