Creating a Culture of Innovation

May 4, 2016

Each year, more than 2,200 critically ill and injured children receive care in the Lefkofsky Family Pediatric Intensive Care Unit from critical care physicians like Dr. Marcelo Malakooti.


The spirit of innovation is in the air at Lurie Children's, where caregivers are focused on finding new ways to diagnose, treat, conduct research and increase access to care for children. In a changing healthcare environment increasingly driven by quality measures and patient outcomes data, caregivers need to seek out new methods—and new minds—for developing game-changing innovations.

Lurie Children's is building innovation infrastructure using techniques borrowed from the business and technology sectors. Plans include:

  • Think Tanks involving both staff and outside members from a range of industries
  • a studio space for team brainstorming and workshops
  • promotion of innovation idea creation and solutions to generate interdisciplinary research
  • support for the broad development and implementation of innovative technologies and therapies in collaboration with the Stanley Manne Children’s Research Institute at Lurie Children's

On a smaller scale, team members of the Lefkofsky Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) have launched a pilot innovation program called IGNITE.

"Chicago is a hub of health care innovation," says Marcelo Malakooti, MD, a critical care physician and leader of IGNITE. "We wanted to harness some of that energy to engage community and business leaders in generating innovative solutions for improved patient care in the PICU."

Each IGNITE Think Tank event centers on a specific issue, such as how to reduce unnecessary blood transfusions or how to better engage parents in their child's care. For the Think Tank on blood transfusions, a diverse group participated, including web designers, advertising executives, accountants and engineers. One of the ideas developed that evening was so strong that it is now being implemented and is already on track to have a significant positive impact on patients.

"I can definitely say that we would never have come up with such a broad range of innovative ideas and solutions on our own, says Dr. Malakooti. "IGNITE demonstrated that our successes are scalable and can be rolled out across the hospital. We’ll also be able to share our findings and research with other pediatric ICUs. Transforming care and outcomes for kids is our goal."

Support for innovation initiatives at Lurie Children's is funded through the generosity of Fred L. "Pete" Krehbiel.