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About Sickkids
About SickKids

July 31, 2014

Challenge accepted: Inaugural SickKids Innovation Challenge a huge success!

The sky was the limit on July 28 at the Peter Gilgan Centre for Research and Learning as SickKids held its inaugural Innovation Challenge. Six companies from different sectors had registered to learn about innovation framework and strategies and how these are used at SickKids.

Participants began the day with a workshop hosted by the SickKids Innovation and Improvement department. From there, they moved on to speak with new hire orientation facilitators, members of the SickKids Innovation department and recently hired employees. The big question was: how might SickKids create the world’s best staff orientation program?

Innovation challenge participants discuss ideas at a table

“Engaging the community to help us develop inventive solutions is an excellent way to foster open innovation at SickKids,” said Ali Shahzada, Senior Project Manager, Innovations and Improvement.

The challenge also offered SickKids and the participating companies a forum to openly share and exchange ideas and bring together different perspectives on how to tackle the question of the day.

“The concept of going outside your organization and into the community to help create solutions for internal improvement is very bold but necessary for spurring great ideas,” said Karen Blott, Vice-President, Children’s Support Solutions at Morneau Shepell, one of the companies that participated in the challenge.

Some of the ideas included using video game avatars to teach new hires about their role, creating a “Home Room” that would serve as an orientation hub for new hires and creating a mentor system, where new hires would meet with another SickKids staff member regularly after orientation.

Each company then pitched their solutions to a panel of SickKids judges. Their recommendations may be implemented at SickKids through the Mary Jo Haddad Innovation Fund.

"The creative ideas generated by the participants were beyond our expectations,” said Ashleigh Davis, a student working in the Innovation department. “Each idea has the potential to lead to solutions that will benefit staff, patients and families."

The SickKids Innovation Challenge was conceptualized by Davis and her peers Dilshaan Panjwani, Bridget Shaver, and Joseph Tropiano during a Health Innovation and Leadership class at Western University. The students then pitched the idea to the SickKids Innovation department, which offered to help the students implement it during a summer internship at the Hospital.

From left to right: Students Bridget Shaver, Ashleigh Davis, Dilshaan Panjwani and Joseph Tropiano pose for a photo at the event.
From left to right: Students Bridget Shaver, Ashleigh Davis, Dilshaan Panjwani and Joseph Tropiano

“It was very rewarding to see our idea come to life so successfully,” said Tropiano. “Working on this project with the Innovation department at SickKids has given us a wealth of experience that will be valuable as we move into our careers.”

The ideas generated from the challenge will have meaningful impact on the way new employees at SickKids experience orientation.

“At SickKids, we are constantly challenging ourselves to improve the experience for our patients and families,” said Susan O’Dowd, Vice President, Human Resources. “We need to apply this approach to the new hire orientation program to create and deliver that same amazing experience to our new employees. This will enable us to inspire and set them up for success in the organization.”

SickKids would like to thank The Hive Inc., Telus, Morneau Shepell, Canada Post, IBM and Zenith System Solutions for their participation.

Visit http://sickkids.soapboxhq.com/ to see another innovative idea taking place at SickKids.

See CBC’s interview with SickKids President Dr. Michael Apkon on the topic of innovation on the Lang and O’Leary Exchange.