service is under intense pressure to innovate given the ever increasing demands placed upon it. Whilst many studies have looked at diffusion of innovation from an organisational perspective, few have sought to understand how individuals working in healthcare innovate successfully. We took a positive deviance approach to understand how innovations are achieved by individuals working in the NHS. We conducted in depth interviews in 2015 with 15 individuals who had received a national award for being a successful UK innovator in healthcare. We invited only those people who were currently (or had recently) worked in the NHS and whose innovation focused on improving patient safety or quality. Thematic analysis was used.