Cardiff and Vale University Health Board is a large and diverse system of many parts all serving one end: to care for our people and keep them well. To achieve this simple enough objective, a complex system like ours must know how to adapt to the rapidly evolving social, economic, and political challenges of the 21st Century.

How does it ensure that it is providing the best possible care now whilst also preparing to do so in the future? Where do our best ideas come from?  And how can we create the space to develop, test, and refine our ideas in a system which seems to be constantly overstretched? The role of imagination in scientific discovery is well known but still arguably undervalued as the workplace is dominated by words such as ‘delivery’, ‘impact’, ‘scale’, and ‘pace’.

The ideas incubator is about imagination and risk. It is a space for ideas to be conceived, to be nurtured and tested, and to be appraised. Good care, on any kind of scale, is obviously impossible without diligent, effective and responsible management but a different type of attention and focus is required when considering how to address future threats to our health, which remain, as yet, unknown.

Ideas are formed through patient observation; by making novel connections between previously disparate and eclectic bodies of thought; by the removal of habitual inhibitions. We believe that the solutions to some of our most complex problems lie in learning how to adapt by reaching beyond our traditional boundaries to embrace the diversity of thought that comes with radical collaboration. The incubator will offer a space where these collaborations can form. 

The Dragon’s Heart Institute serves as a catalyst for innovation and to spearhead new approaches to leadership.

Alongside its role in improving our system through projects such as Climb and the Spread and Scale Academy, it hosts an ideas-incubation unit, whose purpose will be to develop and test new approaches to health and social care with a range of partners across our system.

Our first project will be to work with our colleagues in the Health Board, along with HEIW and third sector partners to embed the principles of sustainable healthcare through a programme of education, training, and quality improvement. We hope to draw on the expertise of partners to further develop our existing work, putting sustainable healthcare principles at the heart of our daily decision-making and strategy.

Of all the challenges facing us over the next ten years, re-ordering our system to avoid causing harm to our people and planet and meeting our obligations to be carbon neutral by 2030, is going to require efficient and robust management, but also bold and creative thinking from every level and every part of our system.

To achieve these goals, we’ll need to work together and we are excited to hear from you. If you have ideas to achieve sustainable healthcare, let us help them grow.

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Hear more about the Sustainable Healthcare Ideas Incubator