Taking the characteristics of innovation as the mode of analysis, this paper reports on the development of Warwickshire's Integrated Services Directorate for Palliative Care. The attributes or characteristics of an innovation are widely held to influence its rate of adoption and diffusion. Rogers' model of five characteristics is familiar in Health Service literature and is used as the basis for this study. High levels of novelty, risk, departure and disruption are noted in the development and implementation of the Integrated Service Directorate, characteristics that do not feature in Rogers' model. Implications for management and research are discussed.