By Kris Nygren
If someone had told me last year that the most innovative initiative we would be involved with in 2012 would be conceived by ACC, I would probably have laughed it off. Yet, for the past four months we’ve been involved with ACC’s Idea Nation initiative and it’s shaping up to be one of the most courageous and creative approaches to a big, hairy problem I have ever seen.
It makes sense, really. Government and the public sector are faced with countless wicked problems that ‘cannot be solved in a traditional linear fashion, because the problem definition evolves as new possible solutions are considered or implemented’. Think sliding national competitiveness versus Australia, the war on P, damage from the binge drinking culture…the list is endless.
Most of these challenges resist traditional approaches; they have no straight-forward or logical ’policy’ solution. Instead they require creative problem solving and design-led approaches. Under the banner of Idea Nation, ACC has rolled up their sleeves, taken a deep breath and made that brave leap. They are giving one of New Zealand’s ’wicked problems’ a fair crack with a very different and innovative approach.
Idea Nation is tackling the problem of injury that results from falls in and around the home. What, this isn’t a big problem, is it? It is. The estimated social and economic cost of all falls in 2010 was $1.84 billion(!). There were 261,700 falls in the home that lead to $272 million in ACC claims. This included 11,000 people slipping in the bathroom and 4,000 people falling off a ladder. In 2010, 3,000 people hadn’t been able to get back to work three months after falling in the home. Big problem, alright.
Idea Nation takes a two-pronged approach to generate and refine new and innovative concepts with potential to significantly reduce the impact of falls in the home:
- Crowd sourcing innovative solutions through a nationwide idea competition. You can get involved; if you have a brilliant idea – submit it here until 27 April 2012.
- Forums attended by 200+ smart New Zealanders – inventors, entrepreneurs, scientists, designers, injury prevention experts and others. They are getting together to participate in a series of creative problem solving forums where everyone’s thinking is focused on generating solutions for this one, big problem.
Brave stuff – early indications are that through Idea Nation ACC will generate some unique and hopefully effective solutions to this problem. Watch this space!
Of course, concepts are only effective if they are realised. ACC is committed and organised – right from the Minister, Judith Collins, and Chief Executive, Ralph Stuart, down – to develop, pilot and, if they prove effective, facilitate nationwide roll-out of the most promising ideas and concepts from Idea Nation.
ACC is leading the world in tackling this problem. Good on them.