Leading Age Services Australia has announced the launch of a program aimed at encouraging and assisting aged care service providers to become sector innovators.

Designed in collaboration with innovAGEING – a government-funded national innovation network for the aged care services industry – the Age Services Innovation Managers’ program is considered to be the first of its kind in Australia, said LASA CEO Sean Rooney.

While similar business initiatives do exist, LASA’s model delivers innovation training solely “for people who provide aged care services by experts who work within the aged care services sector,” he said.

The time for such an initiative is ripe. Speaking to Australian Ageing Agenda, interim director for LASA’s Centre for Workforce Development and Innovation Merlin Kong said: “With the present focus on our workforce issues and the operating landscape that providers are currently faced with, the need to do things differently, to do things better is imperative.”

In the past, discussions around innovation in the aged care sector centred primarily on technology, said Mr Kong. “We’ve managed to quite successfully change that narrative to help [aged care] organisations change and transform.”

Merlin Kong

The program presents an opportunity for the sector to have a collective conversation about innovation and to discuss how aged care service providers can solve challenges “in a way that isn’t cookie-cutter and template,” said Mr Kong.

It is a formal innovation tool that helps aged care service providers “to come up with solutions that are best for them and the people that they’re entrusted to serve and look after,” he said. These solutions could range from incremental changes to paradigm shifts, said Mr Kong. “Our definition of innovation is how you change the logic of your business.”

With the Government’s aged care reform agenda at a “tipping point”, Mr Kong said the ASIM program aims to be “complimentary to the changes that need to happen in the sector.” He added: “If you’re business as usual and it’s failing you, how do your tweak that?”

There are five modules to the program:

  • business model design
  • empathy and protype skills
  • leading innovation
  • marketing innovation
  • technological innovation.

Participants who complete the program will be formally recognised by LASA as an Age Services Innovation Manager.

“We’ve been at the forefront in promoting, curating and framing the sector’s innovation agenda over the last four years or more,” said Mr Rooney. The ASIM program will put a further focus “on helping aged care organisations better care for older Australians and meet consumer expectations,” he said.

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