Innovation is not achieved on your own

10 November, 2016
On your own you go faster, but together you achieve more. This is the motto of The Innovation Playground which has given birth to Medishell, in co-creation with Philadelphia Zorg. With some 8,500 clients, Philadelphia is the second largest healthcarebinstitution in the Netherlands. The organisation supervises mentally challenged persons and finds it important for this group to gain access to and become acquainted with technological developments.

This is the reason why Medishell has taken a question from Philadelphia as its point of departure: "Can we come up with something that will boost our clients' independence?" As the organisation does not comprise a R&D department and wishes to continue to focus on its own clients, they have enlisted the services of The Innovation Playground. At the Web Summit, we are meeting with Executive Board member Han van Esch and Project Leader Innovation Xenia Kuiper. As Medishell partners, they have come to take a look at booth day and they are wondering what else they will come across at the Summit.

'We need the outside world to innovate,' Han explains. 'As it is not our core business, we are seeking collaboration with entrepreneurs here. They have room for experimentation, which allows them to think outside the box. In my opinion, these are the exact elements we need to steer an innovative course. In addition, we regard the investment in Medishell as a valuable experience that we would like to share with society. The Netherlands accommodates some 145,000 mentally challenged residents who should also benefit from technological developments.'

Xenia: 'What you see in the partnership between Philadelphia and The Innovation Playground is two different worlds coming together and finding one another. If you want to change, you should not just get stuck within your own organisation: you cannot devise a new eco system on your own. What is special is that this collaboration induces us to tap into internal talent of which we were not aware. For example, one of our staff is a behavioural scientist and greatly interested in new technology, such as social robotics.'

The instigation to set up Medishell originates from the Executive Board, and has to do with the fact that all too frequently mistakes have been made in the administration of medicine. Han: 'Rather than sending supervisors back to school, we have explored a more material solution, in the form of a smart pill box. Moreover, this offers some clients the opportunity to take their medicine autonomously, without the intervention of supervisors. This seems a small achievement, but it provides these people with something invaluable: independence.'