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Berwick’s Seven Rules for Dissemination of Innovation


An innovation is defined as a novel process, product or notion that is considered new by the prevailing social system. Since innovations are adopted in a step-wise fashion and the process is lengthy, providing a relative advantage to the innovators can work as an incentive to hasten this process. Berwick’s (2003) rules were designed for use in health care innovations:

  1. Finding innovations that are sound in nature

  2. Finding and supporting the innovators

  3. Directing investments towards early adopters

  4. Making it possible for others to observe the activities of early adopters

  5. Reinvention should be favoured and trusted

  6. Providing flexibility to allow change to take place

  7. Allowing others to follow an example, i.e. leading by example

Berwick defines reinvention as being a form of learning that involves courage and creativity. To promote innovation, the leaders of organisations should encourage individuals who are inclined towards taking other’s ideas and adapting them as part of their routine practice.


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