Innovators Network Programming

Empowering Innovation Across VHA

VHA Innovators Network (iNET) exists to inspire, connect, and empower VHA employees to change and save Veteran lives through employee-driven innovation. iNET believes in innovation as both a product or an outcome and as an invaluable mindset that must be readily accessible to all VA employees. While iNET formally consists of a network of designated iNET sites (VA hospitals and health care systems) in specific parts of the country, our reach is far greater as we support innovative ideation, imagination, and iteration across the entirety of VHA.

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Innovation Fundamentals


The Three-Box Solution

The strategies and mindsets needed to create the future are vastly different than, and potentially at odds with, those needed to respond to the present day. The Three-Box Solution teaches us how to balance it all to ensure that we keep an eye toward the future and ensure that our organization doesn’t become obsolete.


Lean Startup

Lean Startup teaches us to favor customer feedback over lengthy planning processes, maintain a spirit of agility, embrace rapid prototyping, and know when to pivot, persevere, or kill an idea. With this approach, ideas are tested continuously and adjust and adapt to true customer needs before becoming too mature (less agile).

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Human-Centered Design

Simply put, human-centered design (HCD) helps us design solutions to problems by placing human needs first. Steeped in empathy, HCD is a creative, collaborative, iterative approach to problem-solving that involves true human perspective at every step of the way.

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Pitching and Storytelling

Two-hour presentations have their place in the world, but not within iNET! We teach how leaning into story evokes an emotional response, while a well-structured pitch can have leaders and investors seeing the value of an idea, and its connection to a deeply understood problem, within minutes.

Innovation Cycle

iNET programming supports the innovation learning of VHA nationwide through a cycle of Ignite – Incubate – Accelerate – Celebrate, providing VA employees with a multitude of innovation fundamentals to leverage as they explore creating new services and experiences for our Veterans.


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Fire up the creativity and passion of the VA workforce. Lean into problem framing, ideation, and posing solutions based on HCD.


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Nurture people and ideas that have promise. Provide open access to iNET frameworks so anyone, anywhere can become part of iNET.


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Intriguing ideas are resourced by the Spark-Seed-Spread Innovation Investment Program and undergo a rapid learning-by-doing process unlike any other available within VA.


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Where we take a moment to reflect on the achievements (including early failures) of the past year with the VHA Innovation Experience, local site celebrations, and annual iNET Awards.

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Brynn Cole
Director of Programming, VHA Innovators Network

“During a time like this, many people think of programs like innovation as extra work. But iNET participants understand that it’s a key part of our work as we strive to ensure Veterans receive the best care possible.”