The Horizons team is a small, specialist team within the Strategy and Innovation Directorate of NHS England.

Horizons supports leaders of change, teams, organisations and systems to think differently about large-scale change, improve collaboration, and accelerate change. We work with the health and care system, the wider public sector and publicly-funded healthcare systems globally. We do this by:

  • Convening spaces (both face-to-face and virtual) where people with diverse views and experiences share learning, and plan for large scale change in complex environments.
  • Building the capability of change agents across the system. We focus on “change agency” (the power to make a positive difference) which is different to improvement and innovation, but boosts both.
  • Promoting the spread and scale of specific innovations new ways of thinking and working and new methods and framework for change, in line with the priorities of NHS England and the other organisations that commission our work.

The Horizons team is deliberately small. There is a core of 11 whole time equivalents, plus a group of Associates, secondees and international sabbaticals, taking our current headcount to 19. We work on the basis that a small team can leverage its activities to make a very big impact through its connections, networks and partnerships.

Over the past twelve months, the Horizons team has supported change at every level of the NHS system, from helping NHS trusts in special measures to transform culture, to supporting Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships (STPs) and Accountable Care Organisations (ACOs) to build shared purpose and strategise for action, to supporting a 30 year forward look at primary care for NHS England, to helping the NHS Leadership Academy to identify future leadership development directions, to aiding the Personalised Care team to establish Demonstrator sites, to facilitating a thriving virtual community for STP Finance Leads on behalf of NHS England and NHS Improvement.

Leaders who have commissioned the Horizons team report that working with Horizons has given them new and fresh perspectives about change; more systematic approaches to change; greater engagement from the beginning; a stronger sense of shared purpose and of agency; more effective approaches to testing and prototyping; more confidence in working virtually, greater willingness to take risks and an acceleration of change.

Read more about the people in the Horizons team.