A new initiative looking to broaden and strengthen collaboration between the health, ageing and disability sectors through using a co-design approach is taking shape in South Australia.
The Growth Lab was formed on the belief that the health, aged and disability sectors, the fastest growing sectors in South Australia, can grow and thrive by working together; The Growth Lab see the business and customer value propositions are fundamentally interlinked.
Organisers of the initiative believe that new products services and business models are possible with collaboration and partnerships across these sectoral boundaries.
The Growth Lab uses Business Models Inc’s design journey, offering those in the health, ageing and disability sectors a chance to go beyond normal day-to-day and find new ways of creating value for customers, to target new market opportunities and build capability; while other industries can find out how to be part of the state’s fastest growing sectors.
So far, Julie Goods, Director Workforce with Helping Hand Aged Care, who has been involved in driving an opportunity for sector collaboration, says the program has seen the involvement of 28 attendees representing 18 businesses from diverse sectors including aged, disability, pharmacy, food manufacturing, recruitment and health since opening to industry providers in September.
“Something, and I can’t say definitively what, has changed across the sectors,” Ms Goods explains.
“I think the reforms and other changes heading our way, or those that have already arrived, has contributed to the opportunity to find a different way to collaborate.
“The key challenges for human service sectors will continue to be about supporting client choice, growing our service offerings to clients and improving our quality of service - alongside this will continue to be business growth and sustainability.
“Working together to achieve this will create better synergy and outcomes - encouraging and supporting other sectors and businesses to share their wisdom and experience with us, will be invaluable for us to understand our potential.”
Currently The Growth Lab initiative has run one forum, a two-day workshop and a business coaching day. The business coaching session will support finalising and testing the business models.
Ms Goods says there are five key ideas that the teams are working on, testing and prototyping which, after the business coaching sessions, will be part of a formal pitch event in February 2018.
“For the pitch event we will invite a range of our Growth Lab community,” she says.
“This community will include decision makers in our organisations, interested parties and partners, other providers and businesses that have watched with interest, and investors - who will gauge commitment with a view to scale an idea or two...or five.”
Given the ideas created and the collaborations forged as part of the Growth Lab, Ms Goods says she hopes this is just the beginning for the sector in South Australia.
She adds that the South Australian government, through the Department of State Development (DSD) and Northern Economic Plan (NEP), are among those who can see the value of collaboration across sectors for the benefit of the northern region and the broader state; and that is why they support Growth Lab and other forums sharing in the key messages around collaboration. This is a key focus for the Northern Economic Leaders Board and they too have lent their support to these activities.
“I hope that this work will begin a process, a journey, to understanding different ways to collaborate and partner for the greater good,” she says.
“The broader human services sector shares a common mission as well as similar values and, if we work with the ‘sameness’, we can achieve much more than working in our silos.
“And, ultimately, the positive impact will be to the people we serve.”