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Improving Improvement

A toolkit for Engineering Better Care

 

Develop the Solution

The solution describes a way of solving a particular problem within a system and all the elements of change necessary to improve the system.

Contents

 

Introduction

The need to Develop the Solution is the third of the seven strands in the improvement model. It underlines the importance of developing the solution for the system to be improved, following understanding the system and defining the problem, and as a precursor to collecting the evidence. As a result, it is expected that such a solution will be developed in the intermediate stages of the improvement process and revised, as appropriate, as the process develops.

Purpose

Developing the solution has direct importance to systems improvement: considering pre-existing solutions; identifying, filtering and developing solution concepts; and making models to evaluate potential ideas for improvement.

Activities

The process of developing the solution may include a wide range of activities including, but not limited to: Consider Pre-existing Solutions, Stimulate Ideas, Filter Ideas, Develop Concepts and Make Models.

Tools

The practice of developing the solution may draw on a wide range of tools including, but not limited to: Storyboarding, Brainstorming, Disney, Six Thinking Hats and Morphological Chart.

Getting Started

Developing the solution is essential for the successful delivery of an improvement project. It is particularly important to develop the solution in the middle of the improvement process and to update the description as necessary during the remainder of the process.

The Understand, Design, Deliver and Sustain stages of an improvement process were previously described within the Introduction section, where each stage will likely comprise a preliminary activity, followed by a number of stage activities.

For the Develop the Solution strand of the Understand phase, the preliminary activity is entitled Describe the Big Idea. For the Design, Delivery and Sustain stages, the concepts/solutions should be reviewed and updated as necessary to support the ongoing improvement process.

Describe the Big Idea

This preliminary activity encourages people to think creatively and describe how the system could be improved and deliver a description of what is proposed as a possible solution concept(s) for improving the system.

Worksheets: Improvement Questions, Improvement Stakeholders, Improvement Strands Canvas, Improvement Plan

Top tips:

  • Establish a creative culture for generating ideas
  • Identify ideas that are most likely to result in improvement
  • Use sketches or models to bring the idea(s) to life

Following on from this preliminary activity, the remaining stage activities are: Consider Pre-existing Solutions, Simulate Ideas, Filter Ideas, Develop Concepts and Make Models. Each of these are now described in turn, together with the tools that may be used to support them.

Activities

Consider Pre-existing Solutions

The identification, review and presentation of existing solutions with the potential to satisfy the demands of the requirements

Purpose: to consider pre-existing solutions that have the potential to meet the system requirements

Inputs: Define Requirements, Stimulate Ideas

Tools: Morphological Chart

Outputs: a list of pre-existing solutions with potential to satisfy the demands of the requirements

Top tips:

  • Allow plenty of time for solution identification and review
  • Ensure pre-existing solutions meet the demands in the requirements
  • Avoid fixation to encourage a broader search

Stimulate Ideas

The generation of ideas to inspire the creation of new ideas that are likely to satisfy the demands of the requirements

Purpose: to stimulate ideas that may lead to new concepts that meet the system requirements

Inputs: Define Requirements, Consider Pre-existing Solutions, Develop Concepts, Make Models

Tools: Storyboarding, Brainstorming, Disney, Six Thinking Hats

Outputs: a wide range of ideas with the potential to lead to new concepts that may satisfy the demands of the requirements

Top tips:

  • Adopt a variety of methods to encourage the generation of ideas
  • Consider the use of tools that avoid fixation and encourage creativity
  • Include all ideas generated at this stage, filter later

Filter Ideas

The filtering of ideas to ensue the development of new concepts with the potential to satisfy the demands of the requirements

Purpose: to evaluate new ideas against the demands and wishes in the system requirements

Inputs: Consider Pre-existing Solutions, Stimulate Ideas, Develop Concepts, Make Models

Tools: Morphological Chart

Outputs: a range of ideas with the potential to lead to new concepts that satisfy the demands of the requirements

Top tips:

  • Ensure ideas meet the demands in the requirements
  • Filter ideas against the wishes in the requirements
  • Note requirements that relate to different stakeholders

Develop Concepts

The development of new concepts with the potential to satisfy the demands and meet the wishes of the system requirements

Purpose: to develop new concepts that have the potential to meet the system requirements

Inputs: Define Requirements, Consider Pre-existing Solutions, Stimulate Ideas, Make Models, Define Measures, Review Experience, Review Safety, Review Effectiveness

Tools: Brainstorming, Disney, Six Thinking Hats, Morphological Chart

Outputs: a number of new concepts that are likely to satisfy the demands and meet the wishes of the requirements

Top tips:

  • Allow plenty of time for concept development
  • Combine elements of different ideas to develop new concepts
  • Avoid fixation to encourage greater creativity

Make Models

The early evaluation of new concepts to see if they satisfy the demands and meet the wishes of the requirements

Purpose: to make models of new concepts to enable early evaluation against the system requirements

Inputs: Consider Pre-existing Solutions, Filter Ideas, Develop Concepts

Tools: tbd

Outputs: a number of models and evidence of their behaviour against the demands and wishes of the requirements

Top tips:

  • Produce a physical or virtual demonstration of the concept
  • Consider different models for different purposes
  • Consider quick tests with rough models to resolve critical issues

Tools

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