Explain what the "innovation" is about, e.g., is it the idea and/or the model you use to accomplish the idea, or your understanding of the target population, etc.?
Herbal therapies have always been in demand in this certain Cretan region. People in the rural area of Heraklion, are close to nature, as most are farmers. According to the storytelling of the elder in the villages, they already apply certain available recipes to themselves. But the complete knowledge of herbal medicine is lost through the years. Moreover, that is an aging region, so not much knowledge can be attained.
But still, ancient Greek scriptures exist and more organized knowledge can be added through Ayurveda (the traditional medicine of India), after adapting with the available plants, according to the climate and the possibilities of cultivation.
Using herbal remedies to recover from easily managable diseases, can be very cost effective, even though it is not applied extensively in Greece. But as patients follow instructions of their physicians, research on wild flora of Greece has led to certain formulas for skin treatments, with few products already approved and found in the market.
The use of herbal remedies could also be most effective for the society, with the use of the agricultural cooperatives in several parts of the country, in order to get the supplies needed for these remedies. The agricultural unions or farmers themselves, they have started showing great interest in medicinal plants, changing cultivation in favor to those herbs, following a new agricultural market trend. Indeed, for special kind of cultivation, farmers can achieve EU funding, in assistance for cultivating these plants.
Describe how your innovation model is distinct from any other organization in your field?
So far herbal remedies are only applied in spa's and especially in forms of aromatherapy, along with alternative methods of healing, in large cities of Greece. The present model has nothing to do with this. It is focused on the use of the herbal remedies given though nature for treatment, not only wellness, along with education of the people on keeping a healthy way of living. (Lately, the Mediteranean diet in the region is fading away and alcohol consumption is increasing).
What type of operating environment and internal organizational factors make your innovation successful?
A small company,in a suitable location, into an olive oil plantation could be self sufficient for the beginning, by using the income of olive oil production, plus the use of part of the same production as base to the medicinal preparation, in oily forms of administration of the herbs. Collaboration with the agricultural unions for supplies though, would give the company easier access to the market, by giving another perspective to the products the farmers are selling, making it well known to the area, in an easier way.
How do you make sure you constantly innovate in light of (potential) external challenges, or your growth plan?
This kind of treatment, refers to the individual, treated according to its needs. Being completely customised, possible challenges, could only come from the established health care system which is under a lot of pressure at the moment and for the next 3-5 years, at least. Meanwhile, there are chances for establishing the model company, improving its fame and given the rise of alternative medicine in the country, there are strong possibilities of expanding, in other islands, where primary care is insufficient.