Public health innovation refers to the development of a new process, policy, product or program that increase quality, impact and efficiency. This definition and the accompanying characteristics were informed by discussions with leaders in public health and innovation. PHNCI is testing the definition and characteristics and will refine them based on our learnings and input from the field. According to our working characteristics, a public health innovation:

  • 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 customer;
  • 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.

To learn more about public health innovation, the transformation of public health practice, and how to foster a culture of innovation in your health department, download Innovation in Governmental Public Health: Building a Roadmap.