From translational research to open technology innovation systems

Savory, Clive and Fortune, Joyce (2014). From translational research to open technology innovation systems. Journal of Health Organization and Management, 29(2) pp. 200–220.



Purpose - The purpose of this paper questions whether the emphasis placed within translational research on a linear model of innovation provides the most effective model for managing health technology innovation. Several alternative perspectives are presented that have potential to enhance the existing model of translational research. A case study is presented of innovation of a clinical decision support system. The paper concludes from the case study that an extending the triple helix model of technology transfer, to one based on a quadruple helix, present a basis for improving the performance translational research.

Design/methodology/approach - A case study approach is used to help understand development of an innovative technology within a teaching hospital. The case is then used to develop and refine a model of the heath technology innovation system.

Findings - The paper concludes from the case study that existing models of translational research could be refined further through the development of a quadruple helix model of heath technology innovation that encompasses greater emphasis on user-led and open innovation perspectives.

Research limitations/implications - The paper presents several implications for future research based on the need to enhance the model of health technology innovation used to guide policy and practice.

Practical implications - The quadruple helix model of innovation that is proposed can potentially guide alterations to the existing model of translational research in the healthcare sector. Several suggestions are made for how innovation activity can be better supported at both a policy and operational level.

Originality/value - This paper presents a synthesis of the innovation literature applied to a theoretically important case of open innovation in the UK National health Service. It draws in perspectives from other industrial sectors and applies them specifically to the management and organisation of innovation activities around health technology and the services in which they are embedded.

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