This evidence scan provides a picture of research into cross sector working to support innovation and change. It describes empirical examples of how organisations are working together, across disciplinary or sector boundaries, to support innovation or improve the quality of care in the UK and elsewhere.

The scan aims to identify:

  • places that have set out to achieve transformational improvement on a system-wide scale
  • how teams defined the system they were trying to change
  • particular techniques and approaches used
  • the results achieved
  • the risks associated with improvement on this scale.

It presents factors that are shown to help or hinder organisations to work across sectors. The factors are grouped under the following categories:

  • Leadership and vision
  • Culture and attitudes
  • Staff roles and training
  • Infrastructure and processes

This evidence scan was initially undertaken for the Health Foundation to help us plan our work internally. We are aware that the scan does not cover all of the literature on this topic. However, we are making the work accessible more widely because we have found it helpful and think that others may also benefit from the lessons, particularly in terms of factors that facilitate or hinder the adoption and spread of large-scale change.

Over time, we will be undertaking more work on whole systems change which we hope will help support transformation at a practical level.