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The Catalyst Program


The Center for Care Innovations

Innovation Consultancy at Kaiser Permanente


Care delivery organizations are challenged to transform to meet the demands of America’s volatile and rapidly changing healthcare environment.


In order to support healthcare workers and create agile and resilient care systems, the Center for Care Innovation, gravitytank, and the Innovation Consultancy at healthcare giant Kaiser Permanente partnered to launch the Catalyst Program.

The Catalyst Program connects a network of healthcare workers “catalysts” who champion innovation within their hospitals and clinics. The program provides Catalysts an opportunity to connect around shared projects and expertise, creating relationships that extend into an online learning community where they continue interacting and exchanging ideas.


The team trained over 80 Catalysts serving patients across the states of California and New Jersey. Catalysts have collectively engaged in over 100 hours of training and currently lead about 160 innovation projects across many major healthcare organizations. The initiative is generating both short and long term results:

  • A catalyst reports “Our medical center is now serious about investing in infrastructure to do more of this type of [innovation] work. We’ve also convinced leadership to begin projects with the “user’s” perspective, which was hardly done before.”

  • The types of systemic change reported were: spurred cultural change around innovation (44%), applied innovation techniques to other issues (28%), introduced new technology (16%), introduced new programs (8%), and process improvement (4%).

  • An independent evaluation of the Catalyst program revealed 92% of participants thought the training would make a great or tremendous difference in the way they did their job.

  • The 2013 cohort showed a statistically significant improvement in their innovation skills when evaluated on generating ideas, taking calculated risks and being entrepreneurial, developing workplace relationship effectiveness, and turning ideas into products, processes, and services.

The Catalysts who participated in the program are all  part of major healthcare systems, public health institutions, and safety net organizations. All of these organizations are devoted to improving the health of people in their communities. The extent to which the initiative efforts improve the work that these organizations are able to do contributes directly to better health outcomes and a more resilient health care system.



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