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The Innovation Catalyst Program and New Jersey Innovation Catalyst Initiative

The Catalyst program creates a network of trained innovators who can introduce and champion innovation within their own organizations, and help other safety net organizations discover new ways to advance their work.

The Innovation Catalyst Program

Safety net organizations are transforming to meet the demands of our rapidly changing healthcare environment. In order to build resilient systems of care and treatment for their communities, they need to find innovative solutions to the problems facing them today.

The Center for Care Innovations (CCI) and The Innovation Consultancy at Kaiser Permanente, with funding from the Blue Shield of California Foundation and additional funding from Kaiser Permanente, are partnering to launch the third cohort of the Innovation Catalyst Program. Building on the experience and successes of our first two years of this program, we aim to grow a network of trained innovators in the safety net who can lead the fight to transform care. As skilled innovation champions, Catalysts will be a key resource to help other safety net organizations apply innovation and design skills and discover new ways to advance their work.

Read an evaluation of the Catalyst pilot year.

Key Resources

Explore the Catalyst network portal at

For more, click “See All Related Resources” to the left.

The 2015 Innovation Catalyst Program includes two components that will support the development and testing of innovative concepts in the health care safety net. First, CCI will expand our network of trained innovators who can apply innovation and design skills to projects across their organization and help the safety net as a whole start thinking in new ways. We are also looking to then support fresh and compelling ideas, developed by this cohort of Catalysts that have the potential to significantly improve care and lower costs.

This year we have one group of California-based clinics supported by BSCF. A second group of organizations outside of California is supported by Kaiser Permanente Community Benefit.

BSCF-supported Organizations Phases of Participation
Alameda Health System Phase 1&2
Asian Americans for Community Involvement Phase 1&2
La Maestra Family Clinic Phase 1&2
LifeLong Medical Care Phase 1&2
Olive View UCLA Medical Center Phase 1&2
Petaluma Health Center Phase 1&2
Planned Parenthood of Orange & San Bernardino Counties Phase 1
Riverside County Health System Phase 1
San Francisco Department of Public Health Phase 1&2
San Jose Foothill Family Community Clinic Phase 1
West County Health Centers Phase 1&2
Kaiser Community Benefit-supported Organizations Phases of Participation
Oregon Primary Care Association Phase 1&2
Rinehart Clinic Phase 1&2
Central City Concern Phase 1
Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic Phase 1

Program Timeline

The 15 West Coast teams in Catalyst Phase 1 participated in a multi-day training in human centered innovation skills and had access to monthly coaching calls to provide ongoing support. At the end of Phase 1, teams participated in an in-person Innovation Fair to showcase their work to date. The 10 teams in Phase 2 have access to ongoing coaching and measurement support, as well as monthly learning exchanges to keep honing their skills.

July 31, 2015 — Applicant Proposals Due

Access the request for proposals from May 2015.

August 3-14, 2015 — Candidate Interviews

August 28, 2015 — Grantee Cohort Announced

Phase 1

September 30 - October 2, 2015 — Human-Centered Innovation Kick-off Training

November 17-18, 2015 — Facilitation Skills Workshop

March 22, 2016 — Innovation Fair

Teams came together in Oakland to showcase their project activities to date.

Phase 2

March - June 2016 — Refine Solution & Pilot Prep

Teams hone in on the solution they would like to pilot and prepare for the pilot.

May 18, 2016 — Learning Exchange: Ongoing Design Partnership with Patients

June - October 2016 — Test & Assess Solution

Teams test their solution in a live environment with end users and measure success with early indicators and long-term measures.

June 15, 2016 — Learning Exchange: Buying Versus Building Your Technology Solution

July 11, 2016 — Learning Exchange: Storytelling Your Team Journey

November 30, 2016 — Final Deliverables Due

The New Jersey Innovation Catalyst Initiative (the Initiative) is designed to help safety net healthcare organizations solve problems by thinking and working differently, considering what’s possible rather than just what’s feasible. Building on CCI’s success with similar initiatives in California, The Nicholson Foundation and CCI aim to grow a network of trained innovators (“Catalysts”) in organizations that serve New Jersey’s safety net, who can lead care transformation efforts. Our objective is to support leaders who are interested in enhancing their knowledge of human-centered design, building or improving innovation strategies, and applying them to critical challenges in their organizations.

With grants of up to $35,000, with additional reimbursement for travel costs, the Initiative is divided into two phases. In Phase 1, with a grant of $10,000, each selected organization’s team of three to five receives training in human-centered design and innovation. The curriculum focuses on four key areas: Empathy, Exploration, Experimentation, and Entrepreneurship. Then they apply these skills to the problems identified in their proposals to create innovative solutions.

In phase 2, the initiative supports testing of new and innovative ideas that have the potential to significantly impact the focus areas outlined below to improve care for safety net populations. At the end of Phase 1, teams will have proposed the solution they would be interested in testing and implementing in Phase 2. Teams that progress to the second phase will be eligible to receive an additional $25,000, as well as further coaching and support. In this phase the Initiative will focus on projects that seek to improve access to care, increase patient engagement, or address social determinants of health.

Grantee Organizations
CompleteCare Health Network
Henry J. Austin Health Center
New Jersey Primary Care Association
Newark Beth Israel Medical Center
Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital
St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center
Trinitas Regional Medical Center
Visiting Nurse Association Health Group Inc.
Hospital Alliance of New Jersey

Click here to download the RFA.


To download the slides from the orientation webinar, click here.