UK healthcare on the hunt for radicals

healthcareinnovationWith my partner firmly ensconced in the UK’s National Health Service (NHS), I have more than a passing interest in how the organisation is run, and of course in particular the various social and innovation projects they undertake.

One thing that is noticeable is the sheer volume of initiatives that are undertaken.  Many accusations are leveled at the NHS, and an organisation of that size will no doubt have a degree of bloat and bureaucracy about it, but there are no end of efforts to encourage innovation and collaboration amongst its employees.

The latest such initiative is a crowdsourcing effort called NHS Change Day.  Held on the 3rd March 2014, the project encourages people to use that day to make a single pledge to do things better.  Big or small, internal or external, all are encouraged.  Hopefully the website team will use the day to improve the site as it’s not particularly clear what the day is about or how to get involved (for instance, the top navigation doesn’t do anything at all, whilst the page for NHS radicals is identical to the homepage – ugh!!)

Anyway, gripe aside, the initiative aims to provide the spark of improvement.  Obviously they don’t want people just to improve things on one day but for it to be a catalyst to constant improvement.  Central to this seems to be the NHS School for Radicals.  As before, I can’t seem to find out much about the project because the website is so poor, but they have produced the video embedded below.

Alas, that seems to be very much of the same school as the website, with a few quotes interspersed amongst nice music and very little information on what the school is about.  What’s more, the url included at the end of the video takes you to the homepage of the website, which also tells you nothing about what this school is.  There’s not even any mention of the school on Google, so the all seeing oracle is no help either.

As I said at the start, with my partner working in the NHS, I want it to be great, and they do seem to be trying really hard to do the right things, but this is all incredibly frustrating.  As regular readers will know, I’m firmly in favour of using social tools to solicit insights from wherever they may come, but it seems that this initiative is failing with even the basics.

For instance, despite requests for information via Twitter, YouTube and email, I’ve yet to receive anything back from the project team.  I’m talking a lack of basic receipt of request style communication, let alone any of the information I wanted to help promote the project better.  That my better half has not heard anything about the project either, be that through work or through college and it seems a real missed opportunity.


11 thoughts on “UK healthcare on the hunt for radicals

  1. That is a peculiar video. It doesn't really tell you anything. On the plus side, it's nice that the NHS is trying to develop a culture of innovation and change amongst staff. I wonder what the take up is like?

  2. Sounds like a super idea, but it's a bit worrying that no one has reached out at all. I mean the whole point of the thing is to get feedback and encourage people to speak up isn't it?

  3. If they haven't advertised it very well to staff, I wonder what kind of community of people are actually going to participate in this project?

    I Googled it as well, and it hasn't made any kind of splash in the media, so it would seem involvement from external stakeholders is going to be limited as well. All very odd.

    • Yes, with five initial modules:

      1. Being a health and care radical: change starts with me.
      Exploring differences between trouble-makers and radicals, understanding how to rock the boat and stay in it and discussing how to be a great change agent.
      2. Forming communities: building alliances for change
      Understanding the power of working together by exploring communities of practice and social movements. Techniques for connecting with your own and others' values and emotions to create a call for action.
      3. Rolling with resistance
      Recognising behaviour, behaviour change and the importance of appreciating where people are starting from in relation to the change you are passionate about.
      4. Making change happen
      Exploring a range of tools, tactics and ways to make change happen.
      5. Moving beyond the edge
      Taking action! Helping to shape how you take your learning from the School for Health and Care Radicals forward – what you do next and where else you might get support/resources.

      It's a bit peculiar that you have to dial in, rather than having them accessible MOOC style online, but the curriculum looks alright.

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