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 technological advances such as wearable devices and data analytics. These offer the potential to advance the early identification, diagnosis, treatment and prevention 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, will use the capabilities researched by the Centre for Technology Management to configure STIM methods for complex medical applications.


The project will focus 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.


Project themes

This project follows a 2-year collaborative project between The Foundation for Young People’s Mental Health (YPMH), the Institute for Manufacturing (IfM) and its knowledge transfer company, IfM Engage. The project used engineering analysis methods to ‘join up’ different areas of research regarding depression and identified promising opportunities for innovation. The resulting publication Changing Hearts, Changing Minds was published in September 2021.


Six themes were identified as opportunities for prevention and early intervention, to be further explored in the current project:


  1. Early life – from pre-conception to 2 years
  2. Food and nutrition, including education, access, selection, preparation and consumption, together with food development and supply
  3. Diagnostics, and individual and community screening
  4. Exercise, including education, promotion, access and engagement
  5. Education & training & support, including information, tools and techniques.
  6. Psychological aspects, including assessment and interventions, together with integrated exercise and psychological therapies


Project activities


The project activities include:


- Consultations with key stakeholders (completed):

  • Assess ideas for impact potential & feasibility
  • Identify barriers and enablers
  • Define areas of strategic interest

- Workshops (Oct-Nov 2022): Idea exploration and project selection

  • Idea exploration in areas of strategic interest
  • Selection of priority projects to take forwards
  • Identification of collaborators for priority projects

- Workshops (Jan-Feb 2023): Topic roadmapping

  • For selected priority projects, develop a ‘chosen future’ and a roadmap to achieve it.



Get involved: Contribute your insights and expertise

To support this game-changing study, we are looking for participants from a wide range of backgrounds to take part in the consultations and workshops. We are looking to involve:


    - Innovative companies

    - The health and social care system

    - Young people up to age 25

    - Parents, carers, and family members supporting children and young people

    - The wider ecosystem including:

  • Schools, further education colleges and universities
  • Employers
  • Charities directly and indirectly supporting young people’s mental health


If you are interested in taking part and fall into one of the categories above, please visit the project participants information page.




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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