Creating a culture of innovation

15th December 2020

This quarter, Northumbria Healthcare Foundation Trust (NHFT) launched their innovation work at an internal event to highlight the support available or staff with bright ideas. Here, our Innovation Manager Mark Taylor sat down with Lorelle Dismore (Innovation & Innovation Officer at NHFT) to find out how the event went….

Mark: Hi Lorrelle, congratulations on hosting your first innovation event! How do you feel the event went?

Lorelle: Thanks Mark, I was pleased to be holding our first event virtually, initially I was worried that a face-to-face event would not be well attended due to having a large workforce spread over a wide geographical location. By holding a virtual event we were able to engage and reach as many members of staff as possible without geographical constraints, whilst the timing of the event meant that staff could fit this into their lunch time.  The speakers were fantastic, they really helped showcase the fantastic work that happens at the Trust and inform staff of the services offered.

Mark: That’s great to hear, and with the implications of COVID-19 we’re all having to make the switch to virtual events, but it sounds like it was the best decision for your Trust too. How did you find hosting an event virtually?

Lorelle: I was really impressed with how smoothly our virtual engagement event went, and with how much interest we had. I found hosting the event virtually less time consuming with minimal stress, but I think this was due to the tremendous support from the AHSN NENC team. I think virtual events are a great way forward to engaging a larger target audience, they allow for flexibility especially for those who have difficulties travelling or having to take time out of their role to attend events.

Mark: It was a great event, and highlighted lots of great work going on in the Trust. What would you say were your highlights?

Lorelle: We have lots of fantastic research and innovation that takes place in the Trust. The speakers were very informative and highlighted some of the key outcomes from working collaboratively across the region with industry and academic partner organisations.

One of the key things to remember with innovation is how small changes can make a huge impact. For me, one of the great examples of this is the Dementia Aid developed by a physiotherapy assistant. By placing red material on patient’s zimmer frames, this has resulted in minimising patients falls. This has been detailed in our brochure that can be found at

Mark: Encouraging innovation is at the heart of the Innovation Forum, and the work that you carry out in Trust. What key messages about the importance and value of innovation would you hope that attendees took away from the event?

Lorelle: We have a wide workforce at Northumbria Healthcare and we hope this is the start of creating a dialogue across the organisation that staff can be creative and feel supported by our expert team.

We hope we have started to create a culture of innovation and get staff to think about ways they can be innovative to improve patient care and experience. We want staff to know that innovation doesn’t have to be a high-tech device, it can be something simple, a small change that helps make a huge difference to how we deliver care at Northumbria Healthcare.

Mark: Thanks Lorelle, it’s great to hear that so much positive work going on in the Trust to help develop that culture of innovation. It’s been great to chat to you about the event. Finally, what do you think is next for innovation at Northumbria Healthcare FT?

Lorelle: We hope to continue to engage our workforce by holding regular events. Our next event will be exploring research and innovation in the community. We will ensure we send regular communication about upcoming events and we are in the process of going live with webpages. If staff would like to be involved in unmet needs workshops, we encourage them to get in touch.

Thank you again to Lorelle for chatting to us about the great work going at Northumbria Healthcare Foundation Trust. We will be sharing more about the innovations and work going on at Northumbria in the new year.

If you would like to find out how the AHSN NENC can support you with the creation of an innovation event, or would like to get in touch with Lorelle to find out more, please drop us an email [email protected]