The problems facing health and care services are so well known as to be documented in the media most days. These problems arise from a mismatch between need and provision: a mismatch where there is no reason to assume fundamental change. So innovation – in both product and process – is needed.

Yet innovation doesn’t just happen. It must be encouraged and nurtured. It must also be supported with evaluative tools and disciplines: evidence is needed to inform decisions as to whether innovations are scaled, stopped or refined.

This short paper suggests that evaluation and innovation are two sides of the same coin. It was produced by Dudley Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and its partners the Strategy Unit and draws on Dudley’s experience as a ‘Vanguard’ site under the New Care Models programme.