The National Health Service is cash strapped, time poor, and needs to innovate for longer term sustainability.

Over the last four years I have focused on looking at how we can be innovative in how we work (both as an employee of NHS National Services Scotland(NSS) and working independently with NHS Boards).

One of the big successes has been using a 4D virtual immersive workspace to transform how we work, so that we can be more productive, collaborative and innovative.

QUBE is a virtual workspace that comes with a range of performance enhancement tools to support speed, creativity, alignment, and collaboration across organisational boundaries and geography. It is not 2D voice/video conferencing, a database, or software.

It’s not a consultancy, a talking shop, or run using traditional hierarchies. But it does challenge current ways of working – meetings, papers,reporting, and…hierarchies.

On QUBE we don’t meet to talk about work; we meet to do, at regular ‘drumbeats’ within a neutral and safe environment. Everyone has an equal voice, using ‘spincasting’ to ensure alignment. It challenges our normal thinking to help create, and deliver, innovative solutions at speed while saving time and money and removing the need to travel. It is the future of work.

QUBE use has increased across NHS Scotland (from a team of 6to around 1000) supporting staff training (innovation, leadership and agile methods), project delivery (including ideation, prototype development, user design) and collaboration with other organisations. This has ultimately improved patient health and care, processes and systems, staff culture, and reduced costs and carbon footprint. QUBE is now the norm for many teams.

Examples of impact include 30 senior nurses across Scotland developed in new world leadership methods and now working virtually on service challenges, development of a multi-million pound business case in just 6 weekly drumbeats,development of a multi-disciplinary decision-making tool for liver cancer in three weeks and running virtual hackathons.

The next step is to spread the learning wider, allowing more staff to remove valueless tasks, to look at problems in new and creative ways,and embed new (and better) ways of working. The NHS has some great visions for innovation and transformation, but still works in the same way it always has and working differently is really needed to enable large scale change. Changing how we work from within will enable more innovative and transformative activities across all levels.

We have created a virtual global ‘collaboration for health team’ stretching far beyond our typical networks, resulting in better and more creative ideas and insight. Personally, it has transformed my life; 70% of my activity is QUBE-based. I have near zero administration, 80% less email, and delivering twice as much. It’s also a lot of fun!

Try QUBE; it could transform your life.

Dr Tammy Watchorn is Head of Innovation at NHS National Services Scotland and works independently supporting innovation in healthcare using QUBE.

Download a PDF of FutureScot magazine in The Times Scotland 15.12.18.