The idea of “innovation” isn’t easily quantifiable. PHNCI, with input from many others in public health and in the innovations arena, developed Innovation in Governmental Public Health: Building a Roadmap, which defines public health innovation as the development of a new process, policy, product, or program that increases quality, impact, and efficiency. Public health innovation embodies the following characteristics:

  • Is novel, new, or creative;
  • Reflects the dynamic state of change inherent in public health transformation;
  • Occurs by internal or cross-sector collaboration;
  • Involves co-production of the process, policy, product, or program with partners, stakeholders, and/or customers;
  • Has the potential to generate a new or improved means to create value;
  • Lends itself to adaptation and adoption/replication and diffusion;
  • Generates real-time information for evaluation and course correction; and
  • If related to technology, uses open-source technology (i.e., the technology is in the public domain) so as to facilitate adaption and adoption/replication.