February 10, 2020

Ideas Lab: Space for thinking differently

Northern Health’s Ideas Lab is a creative and fun monthly workshop, open to all staff who wish to contribute to problem-solving with their ideas. Every month, the Chief Executive led Ideas Lab features a different topic and staff are encouraged to thing innovatively, brainstorm in teams and present on creative solutions.

Ariana Carrodus, Project Manager, who hosts the Ideas Lab, says we are the only public health service in Victoria that has an Ideas Lab.

“While Ideas Labs are common in the private sector, they are very rare in public sectors. It is a purposefully designed space, away from the main hospital, and open to all staff. During the Ideas Lab, we are seeking out of the box inspiration and thinking, and learning from each other. It’s a space for innovation in health care and we often have guests from other health services or health organisations who brainstorm with us,” she said.

The idea for an Ideas Lab came from Canterbury Hospital in New Zealand, which has whole wards built from cardboard before they are actually built in hospitals.

Our Ideas Lab is on Level 3 at the NCHER building, which makes it additionally unique. When people walk into the room, they often think they’ve stepped into a kindergarten or that it’s an unfinished space. All of these factors contribute to thinking differently.

Since the first workshop in March 2018, Ariana has hosted over 80 sessions and discussed various topics, including focuses on staff wellbeing and a simulation of a cyber attack.

The creativity doesn’t stop once the workshop is over. All the ideas from these sessions are noted in the Ideas Scale software, accessible to all staff and completely anonymous. This means that staff can continue to share ideas, comment on other ideas, engage in the creative process and monitor the progress of the projects.

The Ideas Lab at Northern Health is part of an organisation-wide strategy to achieve high reliability. Together, with numerous initiatives across the organisation focused on improving quality and safety, it contributes to our vision of providing trusted care and creating a healthier community.

If you have a problem to solve in your ward or department and you think the Ideas Lab can help, please email Ariana and her team at ideaslab@nh.org.au.

Next Ideas Lab session: Tuesday, 11 February, 12.30 pm – 2 pm, NCHER, Level 3. 

Topic: Reducing waste and increasing trust
All staff welcome – just drop in!

Featured image (left to right): Clare McCarthy, Project Manager (HRO); Sophie Argiriou, Director (HRO); Ariana Carrodus, Project Manager (HRO).