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User-driven innovation in health care

Partner Institute: 
University of Southern Denmark, Odense
Survey no: 
(13) 2009
Draborg, Eva
Health Policy Issues: 
Rolle Privatwirtschaft, Politischer Kontext, Patientenbelange
Current Process Stages
Idee Pilotprojekt Strategiepapier Gesetzgebung Umsetzung Evaluation Veränderung/Richtungswechsel
Implemented in this survey? nein nein nein nein ja nein nein


As an outcome of a parliamentary agreement in 2006 a pool of funds was set up, gradually amounting to up to 10 billion DKK a year in 2012. Part of this - 100 million DKK each year - is devoted to the theme of user-driven innovations and is allocated to explorative projects. 26,5 mio DKK were allocated to the field of health care; eight projects eg. dealing with the development of technical devices to assist patients in managing chronic diseases have been initiated but none are completed yet.

Purpose of health policy or idea

The main objective of funds for user-driven innovations is to initiate new ideas which take into account realised and non-realised consumer needs and future needs in the market and which are organised in a way which draws on knowledge and competencies outside the enterprise.

The allocation of funds was 92 million DKK in total in 2007. Out of these approximately 26,5 million DKK were allocated to projects within the field of health care. The following list of projects is illustrative of the scope of activities within health promotion and health care: 

  1. 'The MaXi-project' which deals with the development and testing of digital devices designed to assist patients in mastering their chronic diseases themselves(diabetes patients).
  2. Assistive technology used for lifting severely obese patients in hospitals.
  3. 'Healthy trail' which deals with the development of a new concept for diet and exercise in the transport sector.
  4. 'Future interactive grocery sector' looking into the development of a concept for virtual grocery stores designed to fulfill consumer needs and to influence shopping habits in order to  suppress overweight (among other aims).
  5. 'Telehomecare' which concerns development of a telehomecare technology designed for patients to monitor their own health status and to maintain rehabilitation efforts at home (COPD-patients).
  6. 'Healthy meals for hospitalized patients' dealing with the development of more nutritious and more varied diets for hospitalized patients (with kidney diseases).
  7. 'Coherent continuity of care' concerning the development of methods for the enhancement of continuity of care and, on the basis of that, the development of a generic model for involvement of patients in their own continuity of care. (diabetes-, cancer-, heart-patients). 

In 2008 approximately 57 million DKK were allocated to 20 projects, one of these within the field of health care. The project is named 'Health sector as promoter of commercial development' and it aims at the exchange of ideas and trends from the health care sector to the business community on the basis of exchanging experiences from the area of health promotion and rehabilitation.

Main points

Main objectives


Type of incentives

Financial support for explorative projects.

Groups affected

Private business, public institutions (including hospitals), consumers (including patients)


Characteristics of this policy

Innovationsgrad traditionell innovativ innovativ
Kontroversität unumstritten kaum umstritten kontrovers
Strukturelle Wirkung marginal neutral fundamental
Medienpräsenz sehr gering neutral sehr hoch
Übertragbarkeit sehr systemabhängig systemneutral systemneutral

The idea of setting up a pool of resources for user-driven innovation is relatively new in Denmark, and the sum of about ½ billion DKK allocated during a five year period is a substantial amount. Anyhow the funds are not earmarked for the health care sector, and it can be seen as just another fund for strategic research to compete for.

The idea of selecting the subject of user-driven innovation is also rather new but follows the international trend. User-driven innovation is a common subject for research and development  because it is linked to business opportunities and the possibilites of economic growth.

Political and economic background

The Danish government entered into an agreement with the Social Democrats, the Danish-People's Party and the Social-Liberal Party in November 2006 which resulted in a pool of money aiming at promoting entrepreneurship and knowledge in general including so-called user-driven innovation. The pool amounts to 2 billion DKK in 2007 and is to be increased to 10 billion DKK in the year 2012. 

Of the funds, 100 million DKK was allocated per year to the subject of user-driven innovation in general including health and health care, but no monies are specifically dedicated to health or health care.

Purpose and process analysis

Current Process Stages

Idee Pilotprojekt Strategiepapier Gesetzgebung Umsetzung Evaluation Veränderung/Richtungswechsel
Implemented in this survey? nein nein nein nein ja nein nein

Origins of health policy idea

The yearly 100 million DKK granted for the programme user-driven innovation in general is administrated by the Danish Enterprise and Construction Authority under the  Ministry of Economic and Business Affairs. The programme aims to contribute to increased growth in the participating companies and increased user contentedness and/or increased efficiency in participating public institutions. The programme is expected to result in the development of new products, services, and concepts. Finally, the programme should increase the qualifications of employees to take part in the innovation processes in the participating companies and public institutions. The programme aims to strengthen user-driven innovation in the private as well as the public sector. 

All the programmes are based on a common understanding of the necessesity of integrating user needs and demands in innovative works. User-driven innovation is supposed to work on the basis of systematic and scientific methods with a view to identifying present or future user needs. The basis for this is research on users' life, practice or needs, including the identification on non-realised needs that are expected to subsequent materialise in terms of demand from larger user segments.

Initiators of idea/main actors

  • Regierung
  • Leistungserbringer: Providers at all level of the health care sector have the opportunity to seek funds for user-driven innovation projects.
  • Wissenschaft: The scientific community was opposed to the establisment of the pool because it was seen as a tool for moving resources away from the universities' basic funds towards strategic funds for research.
  • Privatwirtschaft, privater Sektor: All kinds of private sector companies have the opportunity to seek funds for user-driven innovation projects.
  • Politische Parteien

Approach of idea

The approach of the idea is described as:
amended: Executive Order on project grants under the programme for user-diven innovation. Executive Order no. 241 of 20 March 2007.

Stakeholder positions

At this point of time there is general agreement - also politically - on the purpose and deployment of the fund for user-driven innovation. But as always there is a discussion of the allocation of resources between themes for research and innovation.

No one opposes the theme of user-driven innovation as a theme with great potential for further development.

Actors and positions

Description of actors and their positions
Governmentsehr unterstützendsehr unterstützend stark dagegen
All kind of health care providerssehr unterstützendunterstützend stark dagegen
Scientific communitysehr unterstützenddagegen stark dagegen
Privatwirtschaft, privater Sektor
R&D in private companiessehr unterstützendunterstützend stark dagegen
Politische Parteien
Social Democratssehr unterstützendsehr unterstützend stark dagegen
The Danish-People's Partysehr unterstützendsehr unterstützend stark dagegen
Social-Liberal Partysehr unterstützendsehr unterstützend stark dagegen

Influences in policy making and legislation


Actors and influence

Description of actors and their influence

Governmentsehr großsehr groß kein
All kind of health care providerssehr großneutral kein
Scientific communitysehr großgering kein
Privatwirtschaft, privater Sektor
R&D in private companiessehr großneutral kein
Politische Parteien
Social Democratssehr großsehr groß kein
The Danish-People's Partysehr großsehr groß kein
Social-Liberal Partysehr großsehr groß kein
Government, Social Democrats, The Danish-People's Party, Social-Liberal PartyAll kind of health care providers, R&D in private companiesScientific community

Positions and Influences at a glance

Graphical actors vs. influence map representing the above actors vs. influences table.

Adoption and implementation

The main actor is the Danish Enterprise and Construction Authority under the Ministry of Economic and Business Affairs. All applications for funds are to be handled by this authority. 

Other actors on the scene are a variety of applicants. Mainly the universities in cooperation with a great number of public institutions and private enterprises. 

The number of applications and the amount of resources applied for greatly exceeds the amount allocated.

Monitoring and evaluation

The programme of user-driven innovation is to be evaluated in 2009 and 2011, but there is no decision yet on how and by whom. The evaluation will be focusing on four criteria of success:

  1. a substantial contribution in making Danish companies and public institutions innovative
  2. increased growth and earnings for the participating companies and increased user-satisfaction of public services
  3. development of more products, services, concepts and processes
  4. strenghten the employees skills in innovative work.

Review mechanisms


Results of evaluation


Expected outcome

The programme of user-driven innovation has the potential of changing, among other areas, health care services, but the actual results will depend on the invidual projects, the participating companies, public institutions and research institutions. The succes of the programme is very sensitive to how creative and innovative the participants are.

Its not possible to rate the impact of this policy in general because none of the individual projects has been completed yet. The expectation is that at least some of  the individual projects have great potential and that they will raise the quality of some health care services, but the degree of innovations in the health care sector also depends on its share of the total fund of up to 500 million DKK a year during the five year period. So far only a fraction of the resources are allocated toward the health care sector, however it amounts to approximately 30 million DKK.

Impact of this policy

Qualität kaum Einfluss relativ starker Einfluss starker Einfluss
Gerechtigkeit System weniger gerecht neutral System gerechter
Kosteneffizienz sehr gering neutral sehr hoch

The expected impact of the user-driven innovation programme very much depends on the individual projects and their successes. If they prove to be innovative there is a potential for higher quality of health care services, but it is to early to evaluate whether it is going to have an impact on equity and cost-efficiency.


Sources of Information

Author/s and/or contributors to this survey

Draborg, Eva

Institute of Public Health, University of Southern Denmark,  

Empfohlene Zitierweise für diesen Online-Artikel:

Draborg, Eva. "User-driven innovation in health care". Health Policy Monitor, April 2009. Available at