Principles

Rigor
Health care decision-makers have many options for assistance with analysis, evaluation, and implementation.

 

We believe that a VSSL distinctive is a commitment to rigor at each step of a given project: from conception (use of design thinking and innovation principles for ideation, framework formation, and prototyping) to analysis (advanced statistical methods, primary data collection expertise) to implementation (application of real-world experience to produce actionable insights).

 

This principle can be encapsulated in two related notions: if something is worth doing, it's worth doing well; and if it cannot be done well, it's worth pausing to consider whether doing it will cause more harm than help.

Innovation
Health care needs changes that are inherently innovative: solutions that use unique avenues to create
 value and meeting stakeholder needs.

 

By this, we do not mean innovation as fad, or the buzzwords or plumage often associated with it. While innovation can certainly involve novel technology and products, we believe that innovation must go beyond that scope to meet the challenges of health care and avoid feeling hallow.

We conceive of innovation as discipline: an approach and set of strategies for experimenting, testing, and scaling solutions. We seek to apply these strategies to our work using an innovation matrix that is adapted to health care and oriented along the dimensions of intervention or solution and patient population or care setting

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In this framework, we distinguish between incremental innovations (those that involve adjustments to existing interventions or solutions that are already being applied in current target populations or care settings) and disruptive innovations (those that involve applying novel interventions or solutions to current target populations or care settings). When innovations extend to new patient populations or care settings, we also distinguish between those that use existing (what we term adaptive innovations) or novel (what we term transformative innovations) interventions or solutions.

We are committed to incorporating this approach to innovation whenever possible in our portfolio.

Agility
Efforts to strengthen systems science and health care value can be accompanied by substantial uncertainty. Given this, we recognize the need to nimbly navigate the array of external policy and internal organizational forces attendant to our focus areas and work.

 

We adhere to a disciplined agile delivery (DAD) framework and several tenets -- including adaptive planning, empirical knowledge, and continual improvement -- to enable agility.

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Learning Orientation

Driving change in health care will require effort from cross-functional teams and engagement of clinicians and patients as end users. One key driver of such efforts is an orientation towards learning. Therefore, we seek to manage a portfolio of work marked by curiosity and openness to new solutions, perspectives, approaches, and collaborators.

 

Part of our definition of success is if and how we continue to learn how to do our work better. In that vein, we embrace the idea that we may at times work on initiatives that may not ultimately prove beneficial. While all solutions sound promising when first proposed, some prove less so based on evaluation and implementation. We do not view this as a disappointment or deficiency; but rather a necessary part of a learning-oriented approach.