Welcome to the third issue of The Edge. The response to the second issue has grown and your feedback on the articles are really inspiring conversations across the world. We welcome your comments that are helping to shape how we develop The Edge. So, please keep them coming.

In the last issue we invited you to join the Webinar on; Thought Diversity – ‘What does it mean to us?’ The response was fantastic, over 200 people signed up.

As a change activist with over 30 years’ experience in the NHS I have led numerous change programmes. I have used lots of traditional methods for change and seen some successful change and lots of change that has failed at the first hurdle. So it was great to hear the conversation not just focussing on the ‘what’ and the ‘why’ of the benefits of thought diversity but as one participant put it; how do we get leaders to make and honour commitment to diverse thinking?

Leaders don’t transform overnight but there was an explicit agreement that the power of diversity of thought is critical to helping us deliver the transformation needed in the ‘Five Year Forward View’.

There is a difference between ‘thinking differently’ and ‘thought diversity’. Thinking differently invites anyone to apply creative thinking to a solution. Thought diversity helps leaders understand how people think and be their authentic selves. Leaders and communities negotiate the world around them through the lens of their own experience, knowledge, background and identity which allows an opportunity to harness a more powerful and nuanced kind of diversity to spur practical and grounded change.

We have a tendency to overdesign, add complexity, and go for high tech solutions. Some people are hard wired to think very differently to others, large organisations tend to standardise thought and practice rather than encourage diversity, and can miss this point. They try to change the way people think, but ignore that fact that their people and communities have many different ways of thinking.

As another participant put it,

“It’s about bringing in diverse views to uncover different ways of thinking and exploring understanding what we don’t know.”

The challenge for us is to support leaders in the ability to reflect deeply on their own mind set for innovation and change and use ideas, divergent approaches, and people in advancing service improvement and exploring what the practical implications that individuals and organisations need to take to make it happen. We hope that The Edge is helping you to do that.

It is only by making explicit our mental models that we collectively learn about its potential to improve services and transform the way we work locally. This means letting go of a narrow view of the world and opening up a deeper relationship to diverse perspectives.

You can watch the webinar video here and experience the thought diversity conversation first hand, or follow the conversation on Storify


This editorial was written by Jackie Lynton, Head of Transformation, Horizons Group, NHS Improving Quality @jackielynton