People in a zoom screen share

RCVS innovation initiative launches series of Design Thinking webinars to help the professions develop key problem-solving skills

The RCVS ViVet initiative has announced a series of free Design Thinking webinars that will be open to all members of the professions to attend. The aim of the webinars is to help attendees to overcome everyday challenges that arise in practice by using an innovative method of problem solving. Design Thinking is a creative human-centred approach to innovation and a collaborative way of working as a team to solve problems. Design Thinking has been successfully used in industries like healthcare and tech, and was used to guide the creative process and idea formation at the RCVS Workforce Summit last November.

Each interactive session is 75 minutes long and anyone who signs up via Eventbrite can choose to attend one, two or all three of the sessions. During the webinars, attendees will learn:

  • What Design Thinking is
  • How to use the practical problem-solving process that suits busy veterinary professionals and their teams
  • How to use Design Thinking in practice (not just theory!) by trying out some hands-on breakout tasks
  • How to test Design Thinking against the backdrop of real-life challenges
  • Some examples and issues that are relevant to everyday veterinary practice
  • An approach that supports innovation and working collaboratively

The dates of the sessions are:

  • Webinar 1 – Design Thinking, Manage client expectations, Prototype session: 31 March 12.30pm
  • Webinar 2 – Design Thinking, Innovating your client’s veterinary experience, Empathy session: 8 June 12.30pm and 7pm
  • Webinar 3 – Design Thinking, Making client interaction skills seen as a valuable investment for both employee and employer alike: 21 September 12.30pm

Sophie Rogers, ViVet Manager, said: “Design Thinking is an incredibly useful way for us to frame problems as opportunities so we can explore solutions in a positive way. We’re putting on these sessions as we believe that this human centred approach to innovation can be used in day-to-day practice life to help staff to come up with ideas for how to solve everything from small niggles to larger, more prevalent issues.

“We hope that these workshops will encourage people to not shy away from problems, and instead, view them as a means of working collaboratively to improve their practice’s day-to-day life for everyone. We will cover how to use these techniques with client interactions, in practice life and within the wider veterinary profession. I’m really pleased that we are able to offer these sessions free of charge for the professions and I would urge anyone who wants to learn a new way of problem solving in a friendly and supportive environment to register.”  

Anyone interested in attending can sign up for any of the Design Thinking webinars on Eventbrite.

RCVS initiative announces new innovation workshop for testing and validating ideas

The ViVet innovation initiative has announced a series of free-to-attend 90-minute innovation training sessions.

These sessions are the fourth instalment in the ‘Turning ideas into Innovation’ workshop series, which provides veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses with the tools they need to turn ideas into innovations. The upcoming workshops will focus on idea testing and validation, with teams learning how to use innovation processes to take an existing idea and turn it into a finished, marketable product.

Taking place throughout September 2021, the three interactive workshops which you can sign up to via the Eventbrite page, will cover different stages of the innovation process, including how to find a target audience, how to successfully test an idea and then how to roll out an idea after the testing stage. As well as the workshop content, participants will also have access to a virtual collaboration platform, workshop tools and innovation templates to use after the sessions have finished. The topics covered in each session are:

  • Workshop One – 7 September: This workshop will cover how to approach an idea as a team, how to outline a target audience and map out the stakeholders who could influence and support your idea
  • Workshop Two – 14 September: During this workshop, participants will learn how to use tools to work out what assumptions need testing on an idea, how to create a prototype and how to design and run experiments on an idea
  • Workshop Three – 28 September: In the final workshop, participants will review their tests, write a press release for the launch of their innovation and put an action plan together so the idea can be progressed after the workshops have ended.

Throughout the workshops, each group taking part in the programme will also have access to a 30-minute coaching session with an experienced innovation coach.

Dr Chris Tufnell, RCVS Innovation Lead, said: “I’m really pleased that RCVS is continuing to champion innovation in the veterinary profession by offering these free workshops with innovation experts. I encourage all veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses with an idea that they want to develop to apply to take part in the workshops. Testing the properties and functionality of new products, services, technologies, or processes is a vital component of nearly any innovation. Learning from the interaction of the tests and the target user or system can uncover mistakes or raise questions that have not been previously considered making innovation safer whilst maximising the positive real-world impact. The sessions will give everyone that takes part the practical skills and understanding of the innovation process needed to turn their idea into a finished product.”

There are spaces for five teams (group sizes can be between 3- 5 people) on the workshops, who will need to commit to attending all three sessions. If you are interested in participating in the workshops, you can sign up via the Eventbrite page , where you will also need to complete a short value proposition and answer a couple of questions about your idea to see if you are eligible to take part. If you have any questions about the workshops, please get in touch with ViVet Manager Sophie Rogers by emailing

ViVet Reflection Sessions

Innovation initiative holding ‘reflection sessions’ on how the professions have met the challenges of Covid

The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) ViVet innovation project is launching a new series of free-to-attend ‘reflection sessions’ to encourage members of the veterinary professions to take stock of the changes that have taken place in the delivery of veterinary services in the past few years and reflect on improvements and innovation.

The first of the reflection sessions takes place via Zoom on Thursday 27 May from 12.30pm to 1.30pm and looks at how veterinary practices have had to work differently and adapt to the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic and its associated restrictions.

Chris Tufnell, RCVS Council Member and Innovation Lead, will be chairing the session. He said: “In the past 15 months we have been in innovation overdrive, adapting at a unprecedented pace to transform how we work, serve our clients and patients, and continue to function as veterinary businesses in less-than-ideal circumstances.

“This event is an opportunity to take a step back, look at what has happened, how we have changed and consider what aspects of these changes we might carry over when we return to near normal working conditions.

“For those who join us, we would like to know what kind of innovation solutions you and your colleagues have developed, and share your stories and ideas to help and inspire others.”

Joining Chris on the panel will be a selection of veterinary professionals who will share their own experience of how they have had to adapt the way they work during the pandemic. Participants include Anita Patel, an RCVS-recognised Specialist in Veterinary Dermatology, who runs her own dermatology referral service, and Richard Artingstall, Clinical Director of Vale Referrals in Gloucestershire.

The event, which will feature short presentations followed by a reflective discussion, is free to attend and can be signed up to via its Eventbrite page at:

Further reflection sessions are planned for the rest of the year – these are:

  • Wednesday 16 June: A special session for veterinary nurses titled ‘Problem-solving in difficult circumstances
  • Tuesday 20 July: Implementing new technology
  • Wednesday 8 September: Innovative technology and learning new skills

Further information about these sessions will be published on the ViVet website in due course.

If you have any questions about the sessions or would like to take part as a speaker please email the ViVet Manager, Sophie Rogers on or

Interactive workshop creative thinking

Interactive Workshop on Creative Thinking

ViVet innovation project will be holding an interactive workshop to celebrate World Creativity and Innovation Week and introduce veterinary professionals to different creativity techniques that can help them develop innovative thinking within the veterinary practice team. 

The two 60-minute interactive sessions will take place at 12.30 pm and 6 pm on Wednesday 21 April, the United Nation’s World Creativity and Innovation Day. Each session will introduce a range of creative techniques that can be used to spur innovation – Different breakout groups will then have various problems to solve and will utilise these techniques to tackle challenges and issues encountered within everyday veterinary practice.

The benefits:

  • to practice creativity and bring creative confidence
  • to enhance your ability to look at problems as opportunities
  • to find new solutions to personal opportunities and change your life
  • to find creative solutions to commercial opportunities and transform your business

Members of the veterinary team can sign up for the session, which will count towards their continuing professional development (CPD) requirement.

Note: this webinar is designed for active participation; therefore, a limited number of places are available.

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

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

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 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.