intrapreneurship programme

Increased Staff Retention and Service Improvement for NHS Frontline Staff through a Remote Intrapreneurship Programme

intrapreneurship programme

We helped the NHS foster leadership, collaboration and entrepreneurial capabilities to increase retention and boost service improvement among frontline staff.


A combination of factors culminated by the COVID pandemic has severely impacted the workload of the NHS frontline staff.

A significant backlog has built up, and the recovery has impacted both the physical and mental health of staff.

This could result in:

  1. Service quality at risk
  2. Retention of staff at risk
  3. Poor client experience, as a result of the above two factors


The NHS asked us to deliver a leadership development programme aiming at achieving the following outcomes:

Team Engagement and Retention

As team retention and attrition are becoming a key challenge, the NHS wanted to energise and empower teams to become internal agents of change and service improvement, by developing fundamental innovation and leadership skills inspired by startup founders, adapted to suit NHS staff.  Research shows that teams who score in the top 20% in engagement realise 59% less turnover. Moreover, employees who feel their voice is heard are 4.6 times more likely to feel empowered to perform their best work.

Service Improvement

The NHS recognise that there are plenty of ideas and passion among frontline staff to improve the service and clients’ experience. However, ideas don’t often see the light of the day, and communication across different organisations may not be necessarily straightforward.

Innovation Skills

NHS leaders are conscious that innovation happens across the entire organisation, at the cross-section of the individual, the team, and the context in which they work — including senior leaders. They wanted to provide frontline staff with support to learn entrepreneurial skills and mindsets and apply them in a systematic way to create practical and impactful innovation outcomes.


Our approach for this Intrapreneurship Programme involved 3 key pillars:

  • Workshops

    Workshops with participants to ideate concepts, identify assumptions to validate, formulate the proposition and business case narrative, and refine it based on customer/user feedback. This helps channel creativity and domain knowledge into impactful innovation ideas.

  • Coaching

    Bespoke coaching sessions with each programme team to achieve two outcomes:

    1. Embedding mindsets and skills in daily work
    2. Supporting on the practical next steps of development for the propositions themselves as per the roadmaps agreed (milestones, activities, metrics)
  • Learning and Collaboration Online Environment

    Our bespoke, online innovation collaboration platform, the “Ideas Into Action Hub” underpins our delivery of learning content and exercises, made available to all participants anywhere, anytime, and complete with videos, templates and collaborative working spaces to facilitate service improvement outcomes.

    Learning outcomes include:

    • Fundamental concepts of Innovation
    • Fundamental concepts of Leadership and Influencing
    • Design Thinking and Agile methodologies
    • Customer Closeness and Stakeholder engagement
    • Proposition Development and Validation
    • Proposition Pitching
Intrapreneurship Programme NHS

The programme design ensured minimum impact on frontline staff business as usual activities to avoid service interruptions

  • 9 weeks total duration
  • 2 to 4 days total time required per participant
  • online platform allowing asynchronous and remote collaboration and learning experience


Throughout the programme 15 ideas filtered into 3 strong business case narratives, after frontline staff actively validated them in the field through customer discovery interviews with users and colleagues.

Participants provided the following feedback:

  • 90% of participants feel more engaged in the workplace
  • 95% of participants feel the programme has increased their knowledge and understanding of innovation methods
  • 90% of participants feel more equipped to enable improvements to NHS services

Get in touch with Jamie Qiu

Managing Director, Studio Zao.
Connect with me on LinkedIn or schedule a chat here!

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