In December of 2013, my CEO dropped into my office and asked me to take the lead planning this Innovation Fair that he and his colleagues had envisioned.  The CEO's of 6 large community hospitals in the Greater Toronto Area had recently formed the Joint Centres for Transformative Healthcare Innovation - an innovation collaborative.  The first initiative of this collaborative was to showcase innovations from the 6 partner hospitals.

The challenge - pull together a core planning team at our hospital, collabotate with 5 other hospitals, and create a 1 day innovation event that had to be innovative.  Everything from a brand, to promotion, to a program had to be planned - and all in under 6 weeks!

On January 29, 2014, The Joint Centres for Transformative Healthcare Innovation hosted the inaugural “InnovationEX” at North York General Hospital.  The InnovationEX was an exposition and exchange of ideas. 

The Joint Centres is a new partnership between 6 large community hospitals (North York General, Toronto East General Hospital, Markham Stouffville Hospital, Southlake Regional Health Centre, St. Joseph’s Health Centre and Mackenzie Health) in Ontario, Canada to share innovations focused on improving quality and value in healthcare. InnovationEX showcased some of these outstanding innovations.

The event was planned by a North York General Event Secretariat, supported by a Steering Committee and a Communications Committee with representation from all the partner hospitals.  An extensive network of resources and volunteers was utilized within North York General to plan and implement the event. 

Promotion of InnovationEX included creation of an event website ( ), design of an InnovationEX brand and theme that was applied to print materials (postcards, pop-up banners, posters).  Email invitations were sent to a targeted list of special guests, in addition to the partner hospital’s staff, physicians, Boards and Foundation Boards.  The event was open to the public, free and not requiring registration.  Media advisories were release prior to the event.

The event was attended by an estimated 600 people, including over 60 exhibitors and approximately 300 external visitors.  The event was an open house of 25 exhibits from the 6 partner hospitals located throughout the Atrium and the Academic Centre. The event was also attended by the Honourable Deb Mathews, Minister of Health and Long Term Care in addition to other distinguished guests. 

An “Idea Café” was open during the event which consisted of complimentary lattes and the opportunity to share ideas and answers to 9 posted questions.  Visitors were engaged by “Idea Champions” and encouraged to write ideas and post them on the wall beneath each question.  A total of 316 ideas were posted. .

Formal presentations took place at 10 a.m. and included presentations by Tim Rutledge, President and CEO, North York General, Rob Devitt, Chair, Joint Centres for Transformative Healthcare Innovation/President and CEO, Toronto East General Hospital and the Honourable Deb Matthews.  In addition a video was commission which highlighted key innovations from all the hospitals. 

InnovationEX Video - Highlighting Innovations from the 6 Partner Hospitals