Public innovations are easily shadowed by commercialized technology, but are nonetheless as important or even more, since they are the collective resources of the society that are going to serve us. The market may be profitable for commercial innovations, but profit is not the goal of public innovation. Mental health is a substantial factor in the workforce, economy and well being of a society. The focus on mental health has been trending the last decade and keeps growing as a matter of crucial importance in society. This thesis will look at the combination of these two subjects, public innovation in the mental health sector.
The study asks questions around how an idea is born in the public mental health sector and investigates the barriers encountered when it is further developed. The theoretical framework is based on literature from Design Thinking and Exploration vs. Exploitation, including different mindsets, thinking modes, problem types etc. Regarding Exploration vs. Exploitation, it’s interplay and intricate balance has been researched. Primary data for this thesis has been acquired by a qualitative method with the geographical scope of the study as St. Olavs hospital in Trondheim, Norway. The findings are then analyzed in light of the theoretical framework of Design Thinking and Exploration vs Exploitation.
The key findings from the empirical interviews are that it is a wide specter of origin from the ideas, it has been from a political top-down agenda, observation by specialists, research and knowledge transfer. Most are from research and observation in the clinics. Common for the new services is that they have not originated from designated idea generation activities like Design Thinking, while there is continuous exploration of better solutions within routine activities. The barriers vary for each project, but there is always a need to convince stakeholders and get funding.
The thesis suggests establishing a team for supporting new services with specialized competence and simultaneously have space for experimentation, discussion and ideation for new services.