Nexus Innovation Challenge

Nexus Innovation Challenge

2021 Nexus Innovation Challenge


The 2021 Nexus Innovation Challenge is a catalyst for teams to learn and apply Design Thinking principles to solve challenges and design opportunities within their clinical and educational environments. Using mapping tools, protoyping and visualization models, this longitudinal program is designed for teams to grow practical skills and apply them to a specific initiative in their own contexts, focusing on the intersection of interprofessional education and collaborative care.  The Challenge is intended to support teams in designing real-life solutions to problems or responding to opportunities that teams have identified as important to advancing their work. The Innovation Challenge is a long-term investment in the work you and your team are already doing in your own context.

By participating in the Nexus Innovation Challenge, your team will learn the fundamentals of design thinking and how to apply them to identify challenges and develop solutions that are:

  • Significant – the challenge deals with an important problem or challenge within a clinical learning environment. Teams will form a compelling description of the importance of the problem/opportunity in their home setting.

  • Actionable – the solution can be implemented in most settings within a six month timeframe; Teams will outline the steps required to put the solution into action in their home setting.

  • Easily implemented – the solution into action is manageable in most settings without a huge burden on the target group for implementation. The solution will anticipate the obstacles and provides solutions to the most significant ones.

  • Innovative – the solution is creative in its approach, including how to engage patients and families.

  • Team-based – offers new ways for all members of the team including patients and families to contribute value by incorporating new roles and diverse team members, and adjusting workflows to allow team members to be more effective, satisfied.

  • Outcomes-focused – consistent with the NCICLE identified values of the optimal clinical learning environment, solutions will identify the target stakeholder group and 1-2 key outcomes that each solution will improve.

  • Inspiring – the potential to surprise, delight the team and stakeholders.

Why Design Thinking?

Design Thinking is a flexible method of problem solving that is actively used across many sectors to support innovations in thinking about challenges and opportunities.  During the COVID-19 pandemic, design thinking has been used to design solutions for health professions education and mental health support for providers and learners, design and use of better PPE, and design of lived environments around public health challenges.  The pandemic’s lasting impact will require new skills to redesign health professions education and collaborative care. Design Thinking is an approach to create solutions to the challenges present in daily life through rapid prototyping and testing.


This program is developed through a partnership: