RCVS ViVet webinar - Design Thinking

Design Thinking webinar and resources

This hands-on webinar is aimed at enabling veterinary professionals to use design thinking principles for tackling challenges and problems within their everyday practice. The was session was interactive, enabling attendees to experience some of the techniques first-hand and collaborate with others to make real-time progress! Feel free to pause the recording or work with your team to complete the activities in the webinar.

The benefits:

  • gain an introduction to what design thinking is
  • learn about a practical problem-solving process that suits busy veterinary professionals and their teams
  • try out some hands-on breakout tasks that bring design thinking alive (not just theory!)
  • gain an opportunity to test design thinking against the backdrop of Covid-19 challenges
  • work with examples and issues that are relevant to everyday veterinary practice
  • experience an approach that supports innovation, working collaboratively, and even fun!

Note: this webinar was designed for active participation and was conducted via the Zoom platform. Breakout sessions have not been included in the recording.

This workshop is a collaborative programme by Customer Faithful and Level7.
Gill Stevens, Founding Director of Level7 focuses on merging coaching with design thinking methodology as a way to support innovation and team productivity.
Rick Harris is Founder of Customer Faithful – a research-led consultancy, specialising in customer research, proposition design and employee engagement.

Gill Stevens and Rick Harris
Gill Stevens and Rick Harris

Please submit your details to receive a link to the RCVS ViVet Webinar in Design Thinking recording and supporting resources.

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Innovation in the workplace podcasts

Innovation in the workplace podcasts

We’ve produced a series of six podcasts addressing the topic of innovation in the workplace. Perhaps you’re interested in finding out more about using innovation at work? Maybe you’d like to understand how to use innovation to make decisions, collaborate with others and overcome challenges? Our new podcasts will guide you and help you develop skills and self-reflection associated with having an innovative mindset.

They have been developed as part of our ViVet initiative, designed to ensure veterinary professionals are at the centre of innovation in the animal health sector. They can of course be counted towards your CPD targets if they align with your objectives for the year.

The podcasts are hosted by Harvey Wade of Innovate21. Harvey’s work is focused on embedding innovation as opposed to doing innovation which helps organisations deliver consistent and measurable results.

Each podcast will cover a different topic these are described below. Whilst valuable as standalone sessions, each podcast in the series is designed as a counterpart to the others so that listener can achieve a clearer understanding of what it means to have an innovative mindset.

The full series is available below. We hope you enjoy them and find them helpful.

1. Diverse mindsets needed

The need to collaborate to achieve better outcomes.
Innovation is not an individual activity, a team is needed to provide thought diversity, missing skills and support when the journey is hard. 

Diverse mindsets needed - graphic

2. An enabler, not an outcome

A tool to create the desired future. Innovation must be aligned to vision, and being clear what it needs to achieve. Being purpose-led ensures a better chance of innovation success. 

An enabler not an outcome - illustration

3. Near and far-sighted

How to create success both today and for tomorrow. The importance of having different innovation horizons to both improve today’s organisation and create the future organisation that will be successful.

Being near and far sighted - illustration

4. Navigating the current environment

What currently stops or hinders ways how common barriers can be overcome. Exploring how innovation progress is hampered in an organisation and how common barriers can be overcome.

Navigating the current environment - illustration

5. Creating supportive cultures

What are the outcomes and behaviours needed to create an innovative environment? Exploring what culture is needed to provide the right conditions for innovation to thrive and what behaviours support this environment. 

Creating supportive cultures - illustration

6. Stop talking, start doing

Identifying the actions to establish a successful, impactful innovation program. Brings the previous episodes together to create the roadmap for the innovation journey, and being able to measure the progress that is being made.

Stop talking, start doing - illustration

hand turning dice with Covid-19 symbol to reveal lightbulb symbol

ViVet requests stories of effective innovation during the Covid-19 pandemic

We are reaching out to the profession to understand how veterinary professionals, practices and organisations have been innovating during these challenging times.

We recognise that this has been a difficult time for everyone and that members of the veterinary profession have had to adapt and become driving forces for innovation.

We want to hear from individuals, practices, organisations and vet and vet nurse educational establishments about how innovation has been used to overcome the challenges that Covid-19 and its associated restrictions have presented.

Examples could be:

  • novel ways that a practice has adapted to continue to deliver services to clients who, for example, are vulnerable or isolating;
  • ways an organisation or vet school has transformed from face-to-face delivery of services to digital; or,
  • changes to the structure or business model of an organisation that have enabled them to adapt to the current situation and navigate the barriers put in place by Covid-19.

Dr Chris Tufnell, RCVS Council member and Innovation Lead for the RCVS, said: “We are living through a time of unprecedented change where members of the veterinary community have become the driving forces for innovation. We have been in an innovation overdrive, adapting at pace to transform the ways of working, of serving our clients and patients, and getting things done in less than ideal circumstances.

“So, we would like to know how, over the last five months, what kind of innovative solutions have you been developing or seen people within your organisation developing? We really want to hear from you so we can share your stories to help disseminate knowledge and ideas, and inspire others.”

Submitted stories will be showcased on our website and social media channels, so that others can learn from the experiences.

You can send your stories to RCVS Innovation Executive Sophie Rogers, at s.rogers@rcvs.org.uk. You can submit your story in any form you like, for example in blog or case study form, and we would also welcome photographs to illustrate your innovation. Please also make sure to include details of your practice or place of work.

Daniel Johnson

ViVet to hold marketing masterclass for veterinary professionals

We will be holding a workshop event next month which aims to help veterinary innovators develop marketing tools and techniques for their products and services.

The ‘Turning ideas into innovation: Marketing masterclass’ takes place on Tuesday 24 March 2020 from 10am to 5pm at the RCVS offices in Belgravia House and will be hosted by Daniel Johnson, a consultant in marketing and growth.

Anthony Roberts, RCVS Director of Leadership and Innovation, said: “Marketing is about so much more than just promoting and raising awareness of your product. It is the process through which you identify your customers, develop and deliver products they value, and build lasting relationships. Daniel is an expert in this field and will provide those attending with the tools and techniques needed to turn ideas into innovations, create value from your product or service and turn it into something that people will pay to receive.

“This course will be relevant for veterinary surgeons, veterinary nurses and any other members of the practice team at all stages of their innovation journey – from those who have the kernel of an idea, to those who want to grow their business and change minds.”

During the course of the workshop attendees will learn:

  • The principles of marketing and how to apply them in your business
  • How to identify and understand the needs of your target market
  • How to capture and communicate the value of your innovation
  • How to create messages that resonate with your audience
  • How to develop a brand and ensure lasting customer relationships
  • How to pitch your innovation to investors
  • How to develop a marketing strategy

Attendees will also be provided with tools and templates to take home and use to grow their business, a half-an-hour post event follow-up call with Daniel Johnson to answer any questions that may arise after the event, and copies of the presentations from the day. Tickets to the event can be purchased via the event’s dedicated Eventbrite page.

Zoe Skinner

Innovation Symposium videos and reports now available

Videos and written reports from the ViVet initiative’s second Innovation Symposium are now available online for those who missed out on attending the event.

The Symposium, which focused on the topic of precision medicine, connected veterinary professionals and stakeholders from diverse backgrounds to discuss the evolving role of the veterinary professional and the advancements in both companion and production animal care in the UK and across the world.

Featuring a plethora of inspirational speakers, the day saw a range of informative presentations and thought provoking discussions take place – particularly around the potential of emerging technology to improve the lives veterinary professional and the service they provide.

From discussions on big data and AI, to the complex relationship between innovation and regulation, to opportunities created by changing consumer demands – the event tackled some of the most significant developments the veterinary professions need to consider into the future.

Anthony Roberts, our Director of Leadership and Innovation, said of the day: “It was an incredibly positive day that provoked exciting debate about how the growth of data driven practice will affect the veterinary professional, the opportunities this presents and how we can collectively drive this forward. One of the key learning points from the day is a new understanding of how the veterinary professional can best embrace these technologies to support their decision making and further improve the care they provide.

 “I highly recommend anyone who couldn’t make it to the symposium to watch the newly published videos of the presentations and join the discussion about innovation within the veterinary professions.”

The videos and reports from the day can be viewed on the ViVet website.

Speakers at the ViVet Innovation Symposium 2019

Second ViVet Symposium explores future of veterinary medicine

Last week we held our biennial ViVet Innovation Symposium, bringing together veterinary professionals and stakeholders from diverse backgrounds to discuss the evolving role of the veterinary professional and the advancements in both companion and production animal care in the UK and across the world.

The symposium, held on Tuesday 1 October at the Lowry in Manchester, focused on precision veterinary medicine. It looked at how the growth of data driven practice and rapidly developing technology such as real-time low-cost genomics, artificial intelligence and big data will affect the veterinary professions, how their role might change and the opportunities available.

Featuring a wide range of inspirational speakers, the day explored the potential of emerging technology to improve the lives of veterinary professionals and the services they provide. The keynote speaker, Nancy Rademaker, opened the day’s presentations with a thought-provoking talk on how technology has changed customer behaviour and how the profession must adapt to the ‘new normal’ in order to thrive. Nancy highlighted that the customer is looking for transparency, personalisation, convenience and speed and the challenges this presents for every sector.

The day covered three broad themes, the first of which honed in on how technology such as big data and artificial intelligence (AI) will fundamentally change the role of the veterinary professional. With medical knowledge expanding exponentially, many of the presentations touched on the increasing importance of veterinary professionals using tools such AI to augment their intelligence and harnessing data insights. With so much data available to us, it is now about knowing what to do with it and how to transform insights into innovative action.

The second theme that was covered throughout the day was the complex interaction between innovation and regulation. Innovation is the mechanism through which products and services improve, but it carries a degree of risk as it involves novel and potentially untested products, services and ways of working – here lies the regulatory challenge.

“Daniel Berman, Lead of the Global Health Team at NESTA, spoke about how ‘anticipatory regulation’, quickly becoming recognised as best practice, is one way to approach this regulatory challenge. This is about regulators, such as the RCVS, taking a proactive approach to innovation, engaging stakeholders about the issues it raises and seeking to create future-proof frameworks which, in rapidly changing environments, will protect the public whilst at the same time as fostering innovation,” says Anthony Roberts, RCVS Director of Leadership and Innovation.

“This is in line with the aims of the ViVet project: to prepare the profession for the impact of innovation whilst at the same time allowing the College to reflect on the future relevance of its regulation.”

The final key theme of the day focused on changing consumer demands and the opportunities and threats that these create for the veterinary professions. In particular, it was highlighted that today customers expect a quick, convenient and personalised service.

This creates a challenge for veterinary professions, who must navigate a complex tripartite relationship of vet, client and animal. Much discussion was held, therefore, on the need to find a balance between being customer-centric and keeping the animal health and welfare at the centre of what veterinary professionals do. This nuance was the focus of the day’s ‘Future of the Professions debate’ with informed arguments presented for both side of the motion: ‘In order to thrive the veterinary professions must become truly ‘customer-centric’.

At the close of the debate the majority of delegates voted in favour for the motion, with general agreement that focusing on meeting the customers’ need and wants must be balanced with the interests of the animal.

“It was a really positive and engaging day and the symposium provoked some exciting debate and discussion as to the opportunities the future holds for the veterinary professions, the role of the veterinary professional going forward, and how we collectively can drive this forward,” says Anthony.

ViVet Symposium 2019 also held the final of the Student Veterinary Innovation Competition, which saw three finalist teams present their innovative veterinary proposals in front of a panel of industry professionals. The winning team was Christina Ratcliffe and Ana Almeida-Warren from Liverpool University with a presentation of their VetCase app concept. The concept, a case-based learning app, would include clinical examinations and diagnostic test functionality to reflect real-life situations and help students prepare for working in the veterinary industry.

The symposium was recorded on the day and videos, along with a write-up of the day, will be available soon on this website.

The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies

ViVet launches new innovation events

Registration is now open for the inaugural RCVS ViVet Innovation Evening, an evening of discussion about the latest technological and innovation trends in the veterinary sphere, and networking in Edinburgh.

The veterinary meet up is being held on Tuesday 6 August 2019 from 19.00-21.00 at The University of Edinburgh’s Royal (Dick) Vet School and is the first in a series of UK-wide ViVet Innovation Evenings.

The evening is for veterinary professionals who want to grow their knowledge, network and innovation skill set through learning from and connecting with peers in the local area. It aims to provide attendees with a chance to fast-track both their own personal career growth and their practices’ transformative journey as innovation and new technology start to change how veterinary services are being delivered in the UK.

Anthony Roberts, RCVS Director of Leadership and Innovation, will start by speaking about how rapidly developing technology is transforming the veterinary profession and our role in driving innovation.

Following this, Professor David Argyle, Dean of Veterinary Medicine and Head of School, and Professor Richard Mellanby, Head of Companion Animal Sciences, will provide an overview of the technologies and innovation being developed at the Easter Bush Campus.

“We are delighted to be launching these evenings which will support the wider aims of ViVet, to continue to accelerate innovation in the veterinary professions and sector. To put veterinary professionals at the centre of innovation in the animal health sector, it is important to bring people together to share ideas and grow our collective knowledge,” says Anthony.

The event is free and participants can register on Eventbrite. Refreshments and finger food will be available from 19.00 as part of the event.

Space is limited and we recommend booking in advance to secure a place.

Over the remainder of the year, more ViVet Innovation Evenings will take place across the UK. Details on these will be shared on our website and Eventbrite page.

Symposium 2017 audience

‘Precision veterinary medicine’ the theme for second ViVet Innovation Symposium

At our second ever ViVet Innovation Symposium we will be focusing on how rapidly developing technology and data-driven practice will transform the veterinary professions and the care they provide.

The ViVet Innovation Symposium takes place on 1 October at The Lowry Theatre in Salford, Greater Manchester, and will see a number of guest speakers explore, with delegates, how artificial intelligence (AI), big data and genomics are and will be changing the profession by putting more information in the hands of the veterinary practitioner than ever before.

To this end, this year’s keynote speaker will be Nancy Rademaker, an IT professional with first-hand experiences straight from the places where technology is shaping our future. She will cover the impact of digitization on customer behaviour and how that affects the way organisations should interact with customers while giving insights into how the veterinary professions can prepare for and thrive in the future.

Nancy has over 20 years of experience in how technology is transforming society, working for different IT companies, amongst which five years for Microsoft in the Netherlands and Europe. She loves to share her passion for technology and combines that valuable inside information with her experience in training and education.

Other speakers confirmed for the day include:

  • Kathy Turner, Corporate Vice President and General Manager for IDEXX Laboratories’ Europe, Middle East and Africa Companion Animal Commercial Operations who will be speaking about changing customer attitudes and preventative veterinary medicine.
  • Matthew Smith, Director of Business Development at Microsoft, who will be speaking about AI and agriculture.
  • Iain Maclaren, Senior Market Development Manager in Agrigenomics, Food and Consumer Genomics at Oxford Nanopore Technologies Ltd who will be speaking about low-cost and accessible genomic sequencing.

During the course of the event we will also be hosting the ViVet Student Veterinary Innovation Competition final, which sees three finalist teams going head to head presenting in front of a panel of industry professionals including BVA President Simon Doherty.

Anthony Roberts, our Director of Leadership and Innovation who leads the ViVet project, said: “Since our inaugural innovation symposium in 2017, innovation and technology adoption in the wider animal health and welfare sector has accelerated. In the longer term it is clear that technology will fundamentally change the role of the vet and how veterinary services are delivered.

“It is ViVet’s role to ensure veterinary professionals can navigate this transition and remain at the centre of animal health and welfare. It does this by providing insights as to what the future could look like, and supporting veterinary professionals to develop the skills they need to take charge of and to shape that future, by leading innovation.

“This event provides an extraordinary opportunity for any vet or veterinary nurse who wants to understand how to adapt and use these new developments, learn about precision veterinary medicine, what it means for the future of veterinary care, and learn about new roles for vets being produced by these changes.”

Tickets for the event can be secured through the Innovation Symposium’s dedicated Eventbrite page with discounted tickets available for veterinary students and veterinary nurses.

Students at ViVet day

ViVet to host student innovation competition

We are hosting our first student innovation competition this year titled, ‘What’s your big idea?’, ahead of the initiative’s second Innovation Symposium in October.

This competition is open to all UK-based undergraduate veterinary students and offers them the opportunity to work as a team to brainstorm, develop and present an innovative idea to a board of industry professionals.

Students can enter either as a single applicant or as a group (of roughly five members), with single applicants then being placed in a group with other applicants from their university. There can be more than one team representing each university. 

Each applicant will receive support from one of the Association of Veterinary Students’ (AVS) Vet Futures Ambassadors, as well as a mentor session with a chosen industry professional to guide them on their project. The AVS developed the idea for the Vet Futures Student Ambassadors programme.

Two students each from the Universities of Bristol, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Liverpool, Nottingham, Surrey, and Glasgow, along with University College Dublin and the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) were selected to become Vet Futures Student Ambassadors who could champion Vet Futures within their schools and develop and deliver some student-specific projects in line with the Vet Futures ambitions.

The Vet Futures Student Ambassadors presented the proposals for the dragon’s den style innovation competition and we have been supporting the students to deliver the project, with the aim to bring together the UK veterinary schools and other university departments to come up with innovative solutions.

Each student’s project can cover any aspect of veterinary health innovation. Potential projects might include; innovations within veterinary education, innovations to improve sanitation and hygiene, innovations to improve veterinary-public communication and innovations to improve patient safety, to name just a few.

These initiatives must show how they have improved upon – or extended beyond – current expectations of best practice in their chosen area. Themes chosen by the students as areas for focus have included; innovation, veterinary careers, communication with the public on animal welfare issues, mental health and wellbeing of veterinary professionals, and One Health.

Teams will need to submit three components for judging: a log of their progress throughout the project (which can include social media updates using the hashtag #ViVetStudentInnovation), mentor engagement and feedback, and a five-minute video ‘business pitch’.

The three finalist groups of the competition will be invited to present their pitch to a board of industry professionals at a ‘Dragon’s Den’ style event held at the ViVet 2019 Innovation Symposium on Tuesday 1 October 2019 in Manchester. The winning and runner-up groups will then be selected and will be presented alongside the ‘mentor’s choice’ award. The Mentor’s Choice award will be selected by the team mentors. The prize will be awarded to an individual who shows excellence and enthusiasm within their work on the project.

Anthony Roberts

Anthony Roberts (pictured right), RCVS Director of Leadership & Innovation, said: “This competition provides a great opportunity for veterinary students to engage with their fellow classmates across different fields of study and to work on projects that could genuinely make a difference to animal health and welfare and the way veterinary services are delivered.

“Teams will receive one-on-one mentoring and will be guided through the innovation process, developing skills that will be useful throughout their careers. We look forward to seeing the three finalist teams presenting at the ViVet Innovation Symposium in Manchester on 1 October.”

Zoe Skinner, Vet Futures Student Representatives Team Leader, added: “This competition is a great opportunity for veterinary students to receive mentoring from experienced veterinary professionals and form contacts within our profession. It gives students a way to work together as a team and allows them to learn how to produce and develop innovative, problem-solving concepts as well as skills in delivering presentations. These are all important aspects of our career ahead, which will look brilliant on our CVs.”

We are now accepting registrations for the competition for the 2018/19 academic year. To enter, applicants must submit an online registration form. For further enquiries, please email the ViVet team.

Anthony Roberts, Director of Leadership and Innovation

Innovation workshop resources now available

We have published the resources used at our recent innovation workshops for the benefit of those who were not able to attend either event.

The first of the innovation workshops took place at the Moller Centre in Cambridge on 16 January and was led by professional innovation consultant Greg Dickens MRCVS from Innovia Technology who was also joined by guest speakers Andrew Francis, the founder of South Coast Cardiology, a visiting specialist referral service, and Adrian Nelson-Pratt, founder of the Emerge Veterinary Project, a coaching and personal development product aimed at improving veterinary wellbeing and performance.

The first workshop introduced tools and techniques to help individuals and organisations think creatively about how to identify needs and opportunities for innovation in the animal health/ veterinary sector, and how to turn an identified need into an idea. Attendees were given practical advice on how to find opportunities, brainstorming and assessing ideas.

The second session took place on 20 February and built on the theme of the first workshop with information on how to develop an idea and bring it to market. The first part of the day, led by Greg Dickens and fellow veterinary innovator Guen Bradbury, looked at how ideas and concepts could be tested to gain feedback and then refined.

The second part of the day saw RCVS Director of Leadership and Innovation Anthony Roberts talk to delegates about how to develop and refine business models to maximise your product or service’s success and the power and impact of business model innovation. This session addressed issues such as identifying and segmenting your customer-base, how to reach and communicate with your customers or clients, and how to best organise and exploit the resources at your disposal to provide a sustainable competitive advantage.

This session also covered the vital role of storytelling in winning support and funding for an idea, how to successfully pitch for funding and other forms of support.

Anthony Roberts (pictured) said: “I’m delighted that feedback from these inaugural innovation workshops showed that attendees found the sessions useful, informative and, most importantly, inspiring as regards developing their own ideas, services and products.

”The topics we covered, however, are relevant to all veterinary surgeons and nurses, and for this reason we’re sharing all the he resources from both events on the ViVet website”.

One of those who commented positively on the workshop was Rachel Dean, Director of Clinical Research and Excellence in Practice at VetPartners who said:

“Today was really interesting; I was encouraged to go to the event by my company. The best bit about today was meeting other people that also see that we need to innovate, and need to try and work out how we do that in various different settings.”

Another delegate, equine vet Malcolm Morley, added: “I came on the course thinking that I had some innovative ideas that I wanted to take further, but actually I realised that on the course I learnt ideas that would apply to other aspects of what I do. So I’m going home with take-home messages for other things too.”

The materials from the workshop are available to view and download from the resources section of the website.