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HSE-HIHI Spark Innovation Programme

Spark Ignite logo

Introduction to the Spark Innovation Programme

The Spark Innovation Programme seeks to support, promote and recognise innovation amongst healthcare staff within the HSE. The programme recognises the unique insights and perspectives of all frontline healthcare workers. The Spark team believe that the opportunity to develop one’s ideas is central to staff engagement, often inspiring for staff, encouraging recruitment, and supporting retention. We also believe that it is not solely about successful ideas but also about the potential shared learning for the system.

Since the Spark programme began in July 2017 the consistent hard work and dedication that HSE frontline staff throughout the country have shown, demonstrates the desire to innovate and improve our health system.

The Spark Programme urges all NCHDs, AHPs, Nurses and Midwives with a problem solving mind, a desire to learn about design and innovation and more than anything are excited about seeing their ideas come to fruition to get involved as we want to help navigate your problem solving journey.

The objectives of the Spark Innovation Programme are to:

  • Encourage and support frontline innovation and quality improvement across all healthcare disciplines
  • Empower and engage frontline staff
  • Provide design and innovation workshops and promote the role of user centred design in the health system
  • Create a supportive ecosystem for health innovators
  • Promote early engagement with emerging technology

The Spark Innovation Programme is supported by:

  • National Quality Improvement Team (National QI Team)
  • National Doctors Training & Planning (NDTP)
  • Office of the Nursing and Midwifery Services Director (ONMSD)
  • National Health and Social Care Professions Office (HSCP)

Spark Seed Funding

This is an initiative where frontline staff can apply for micro-funding and other supports for innovative projects that will improve our health service. We welcome ideas from a range of innovators, all nursing and midwifery, allied health professionals and doctors are encouraged to apply. Preference is given to MDT applications that show enthusiasm for bringing about innovative change and making meaningful improvements where you work. More info at

Spark Ignite

This initiative is run in association with the Health Innovation Hub Ireland (HIHI). This competition provides an opportunity for HSE staff to develop their ideas for solutions. Spark Ignite is open to all disciplines and departments within the HSE, enabling staff to develop their ideas through validation of clinical need and to determine the market for their proposed solution, product, or service.

Successful applicants benefit from a bespoke healthcare focused innovation workshop delivered by experts, to hone their idea and proceed to pitch for prizes in three regional competitions, followed by a National final for the six regional finalists. More info at

Design Challenges

The Design Weeks which were a great success in the past years in St James Hospital and The Mater Misericordiae University Hospital, overcoming the challenges put forward by the pandemic and continued in the last year. We are delighted to support this great opportunity for collaboration between frontline healthcare workers, engineers and designers. All health service providers are invited to take part, allowing for cross-disciplinary efforts to bring projects to fruition. For staff in either of these centres look out for local information to get involved.

COVID Call / Design on the Frontline

Design on the Frontline was an open call to the design & innovation community for ideas to some of our most pressing healthcare challenges. We believe that bringing design and healthcare closer together could offer an incredible opportunity to tackle current challenges and shape where we go next. The Design on the Frontline initiative has emerged as a result of Covid-19, but the concept has been incubating for longer. Over the past 4 years we have introduced 100’s of our frontline staff to the practices, principles, tools and mind-sets of Human-Centred design and innovation.

For more information, please visit: @DesignOTFL #DesignOTFL and at:

Annual report of the nursing and midwifery contribution to the Spark Innovation Programme 2020

The Office of the Nursing and Midwives Director, commenced a partnership with the Spark Programme in 2019, a bottom up initiative seeking to support, promote and recognise innovation amongst healthcare staff.

Read about the extensive contribution of Nurses and Midwives to the Spark Innovation Programme 2020 in the Annual report of the nursing and midwifery contribution to the Spark Innovation Programme 2020 (PDF, size 3 MB, 34 pages)

More information

Read more about the Spark Innovation Programme

You can get more details from Dr Maureen Flynn the ONMSD link for the Spark Innovation Programme


Related topic

Spark Programme initiatives summary (PDF, size 141 KB, 2 pages)