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:

  • Be novel, new, or creative;

  • Reflect the dynamic state of change inherent in public health transformation;

  • Occur by internal or cross-sector collaboration;

  • Involve co-production of the process, policy, product, or program with partners, stakeholders, and/or customers;

  • Have the potential to generate a new or improved means to create value;

  • Lend itself to adaptation and adoption/replication and diffusion;

  • Generate real-time information for evaluation and course correction; and

  • If related to technology, use open-source technology (i.e., the technology is in the public domain) so as to facilitate adaption and adoption/replication.