Innovation Ecosystems for Health: A Learning Approach to Public Health Implementation
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AbstractThis Thesis describes the DELTA Doctoral project and experience for Harvard DrPH Candidate Chris Wheelahan. The DELTA Doctoral project work focused on a nonprofit, digital health startup founded by the student called Huntington Health Innovations. The startup’s stated purpose was to help empower individuals and families make the best decisions regarding health insurance. It was to achieve this through a new class of product: a “digital health insurance navigator” called PlanShepherd. This thesis elucidates the experience of bringing PlanShepherd through the new venture “idea stage”, including the values, baseline frameworks, and initial value hypothesis for the business; the experience of a “social startup” incubator program; the evolution of the project’s value hypothesis and business plan; and the successes and failures of the project.
The thesis is premised on three key themes: the Innovation Ecosystems framework, “Learning Approaches” to project management, and the project’s “Framework for Change”. The Analytical Platform of this document describes these themes in detail and elucidates background research relevant to the development of a digital health insurance navigator in the context of the U.S. Health System. The Results Statement of the thesis applies the Innovation Ecosystems framework to the context of Southeast Louisiana’s health innovation ecosystem, and narrates the experience of the student launching Huntington Health Innovations and developing the PlanShepherd product.
The DELTA Doctoral project described herein achieved both generalizable results, applicable to organizations, innovators, and systems-leaders; as well as specific learning goals relevant to the DELTA Doctoral student. Significantly, this project represents the first productive, real-world application of the Innovation Ecosystems framework as both an analytical tool and implementation framework for innovation. Secondly, it demonstrates how “learning approaches” represent a viable – and in many cases superior – alternative to traditional methodologies of project management. Finally, the project represents the growth of the student as a skilled and competent practitioner in the field of digital health, a public health leader, and a student of innovation across sectors and contexts.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:37945629