Accelerating Innovation in Healthcare

The context

More young people than ever are suffering from depression, which may recur repeatedly in adulthood. Unfortunately, current treatments are not sufficient and between 50-75% of young people receiving care experience a relapse.


Innovation in the field of mental health is enabled by increasingly multidisciplinary scientific research, coupled with significant advances such as understanding the links between food and mental health, computer-based methods for detecting mental distress, wearable devices that identify changes in biological indicators and data analytics. These offer the potential to advance the prevention, early identification, diagnosis, and personalised plans for the management and treatment of mental health disorders. However, innovation in healthcare is traditionally a long and complex process with the average time for translation from research to application is 17 years (Ref 1).


Structured innovation management methods are needed to ensure the generation, selection and implementation of the most effective innovation options.


What is the Accelerating Innovation in Healthcare project?

The IfM Accelerating Innovation in Healthcare project is seeking to accelerate the transition of medical research into innovations in practice, using the IfM’s proven Roadmapping and related Strategic Technology and Innovation Management (STIM) methods.


The project team, led by Dr Nicky Athanassopoulou of IfM Engage, are using the capabilities researched by the Centre for Technology Management to configure STIM methods for complex healthcare applications.


The project is focusing on innovation in the early detection and treatment of depression in young people.


Insights, learning and experience from this case study will support the future application of the STIM for Healthcare toolset to the identification, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of other complex medical conditions.




Changing Minds, Changing Lives


Published in 2023, The Changing Minds, Changing Lives report provides:


  • a model of vulnerability factors and mechanisms for the development of depression in young people over the life course.
  • opportunities for collaboration on projects with real potential to make a difference.
  • straightforward suggestions for how actors across society can work more effectively to prevent and intervene early to address depression.
  • promising areas for further research that have the potential to underpin impactful innovations in the future.


The report identifies forty-five projects to help enable the prevention, early detection, diagnosis, management and treatment of depression in children and young people.


Read the Changing Minds, Changing Lives report


Changing Hearts, Changing Minds


Changing Hearts, Changing Minds was published in September 2021. The report gives an overview of the project, developing a multidisciplinary understanding of how depression develops with specific ideas and opportunities for early intervention, including prevention, prediction, detection, diagnosis and treatment.


Read the Changing Hearts, Changing Minds report



Find out more


Project team


The Centre for Technology Management researches processes and practices for enabling effective strategic technology, innovation and IP management, and technology enterprise, across a wide range of sectors.

IfM Engage provides consultancy and professional development services to help organisations across all sectors including healthcare to create, deliver and capture value more effectively.

The Foundation for Young People’s Mental Health (YPMH) is a charitable foundation working to improve the lives of young people by facilitating innovative approaches to resolve mental health conditions.





Ref 1: (from Institute of Public Health, University of Cambridge) Morris ZS, Wooding S, Grant J. The answer is 17 years, what is the question: understanding time lags in translational research. J R Soc Med. 2011;104(12):510-520. doi:10.1258/jrsm.2011.110180

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