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Public Policy|Southampton

Supporting employee-driven innovation in the healthcare sector


Project outline

This symposium brings together a group of experts in the delivery of health care -academics, policy makers and practitioners - to discuss how we can support employee driven and bottom up innovation in the NHS and beyond, in order to make all important improvements to health outcomes and reduce inequality.

We are seeing increasing demands on healthcare provision in England & Wales, at a time when there is strong pressure to contain funding. Top-down measures to reform healthcare have not brought the expected gains in efficiency and it is now widely recognised that the most innovative and sustainable solutions may lie with the expertise and daily practice of employees and staff across the sector.

Our ESRC funded research project has explored three cases of employee driven innovation in the delivery of health care. Our goal has been to understand the organizational and educational conditions which impede or facilitate these developments. This symposium provides an opportunity to discuss the findings of our research with our expert panels and audience members, and explore how we might design practical strategies to encourage, support and sustain employee driven interventions more widely throughout the sector.

The presentations and discussions from the symposium will be used to prepare a Policy Briefing containing practical guidelines for supporting employee driven innovation, which will be disseminated widely to both government and the Health care sector.

Meet the research team

Rebecca Taylor (principal investigator) is a Lecturer in Sociology in the department of Sociology, Social Policy and Criminology at the University of Southampton. Her research interests are in conceptualising work, particularly unpaid forms of work, understanding individuals’ working lives and careers and work in different organisations and sectors. Rebecca has conducted extensive policy- focused research in the areas of older workers, employment services and programmes, and the third sector and its relationship with the market and the state. She has published widely in journals such as Work, Employment and Society, and Policy and Politics and edited the Sociological Review monograph A New Sociology of Work?

Susan Halford is Professor of Sociology and a Director of the Web Science Institute, both at the University of Southampton. A geographer by training and organizational sociologist for many years, her research has focussed on questions of organizational change and the dynamics of power, knowledge and expertise that are involved in this. In recent years she has focussed on digital innovation, not least in the workplace, and has worked on a series of projects around digital organization transformation in healthcare.

Kate Lyle is Research Fellow in the department of Sociology, Social Policy & Criminology at the University of Southampton. She is currently working on the LLAKES project titled Work Organisation, Lifelong Learning and Employee-Driven Innovation in the Health Sector, exploring how employee driven innovation can develop and flourish in the healthcare sector. Prior to this Kate completed PhD at the University of Southampton, focusing on the role on interdisciplinary collaboration in developing healthcare technologies that are appropriate to and workable within specific user settings.

Alison Fuller is Professor of Vocational Education and Work at UCL Institute of Education. Her research interests focus on education – work transitions and patterns of participation across the life-course, vocational education, apprenticeship as a model of learning and occupational skill formation, workplace learning and workforce development. Alison’s current research focuses on the relationship between work organisation, lifelong learning and innovation, ways of developing and recognising technical and intermediate level skills, older workers and lifelong learning, and the concepts of apprenticeship and occupation.

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