Improving Processes and Performance: How to Brainstorm Solutions and Determine Where to Focus Efforts

Anna Hrovat-Staedter
February 27th, 2018

Tracking operational metrics at your research organization allows you to objectively view your site’s performance, and direct you to areas that require improvement. Once you’ve been alerted to these areas, you can begin brainstorming different actions that will have the greatest impact on those areas of need.

For example, perhaps you’re looking to improve accruals at your organization. When brainstorming ideas to address low accrual performance, start by looking for answers within your clinical research metrics. Consider questions like:

  • What are your top accruing management groups or departments? What is making those departments more successful?
  • Are there principal investigators who have multiple under accruing protocols? Is the investigator aware of this trend?
  • In which phase are you more successfully accruing a diverse population? Do you understand where your subjects are coming from?

These answers can help you brainstorm potential solutions for improving accrual at your organization. Based on the examples above, here are some ideas you can begin to think about implementing:

  • Have leadership from each department document and share their Standard Operating Procedures on their recruitment and retention tactics.
  • Email your lowest accruing principal investigators to set up a meeting time to discuss low enrollment trends.
  • Create a strategic advertising campaign to boost diversity in your current trials to ensure you’re appropriately serving your hospital’s population.

Turn insight into action

Once you’ve brainstormed potential ideas, you can better understand which would be most feasible and impactful on your performance goals. A helpful exercise to evaluate potential ideas is to create an Implementation–Impact Grid. This grid helps to visually prioritize ideas that will have the greatest impact on your performance while being feasible to implement with the resources currently at your disposal. To create an Implementation–Impact Grid, first rank your ideas by how much impact they will have on your institution, then rank them by how easy they will be to implement.

Thinking critically about action-oriented options you can take once you’ve leveraged operational analytics can help translate insight into action. This critical thinking will help you make the most out of your operational data and increase your research return on investment.


Download your free worksheet

To help you start prioritizing high impact changes for your research operations, we’ve created a free, downloadable Implementation–Impact Grid Worksheet. Download your copy of the worksheet today to jumpstart a more strategic approach to your next operational brainstorming session. 


Thanks to Beth Harper for the framework of this worksheet. Beth is the President of Clinical Performance Partners, Inc., a consultancy focused on enhancing enrollment and site