Welcome to the fifth issue The Edge and my first editorial.

One of our Australian groups meet for Module 1 of the School for Health and Care Radicals #SHCRANZ

I’ve been working in the Horizons Team at NHS Improving Quality for just under six months, and I must admit, I feel rather fortunate to be working on some amazing initiatives. My remit includes The Edge, The School for Health and Care Radicals and the crowdsourcing campaign, ‘Challenge Top-Down Change with NHS Improving Quality, the Health Services Journal, Nursing Times and Clever Together. Three incredible, ground-breaking programmes that are all, in their own right, reaching thousands of people across the world who share a common purpose and passion for transformational change in health and care.

The collective passion of change agents, amassing via digital or virtual means, is palpbale and powerful. I was overwhelmed by the response we had to our first module of the School for Health and Care Radicals: ‘Being a health and care radical- change starts with me.’ Not only did we receive over 2000 registrations from people in 36 countries, but witnessed a groundbreaking level of participation in the live WebEx of just short of 500 people. The accompanying Twitter activity made 2.6m impressions, and we attracted 1260 tweets in the 90-minute session.  I urge you to watch the YouTube recording of the WebEx and make full use of the accompanying study guide and slides; these are fantastic resources, freely available to you and your colleagues. You will eventually be able to access the full programme of all five modules from our resources page. It’s not too late to register for the School, with Module 2: ‘Building alliances for change‘ WebEx running on Friday 6th February at 09.00 GMT.

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A tweet sent by me during School for Health and Radicals in February 2014 #SHCR

Flashback to a year ago, I was participating in the School for Health and Care Radicals as a student, feeling anxious and dispirited about the state of change and my personal experiences in my NHS Foundation Trust organisation. My leadership energy was flagging, and my self-efficacy was verging on ‘helplessness’. The School was my turning point, helping me to recognise the validity of my beliefs and vision, my ability to bring about change (despite resistance) and to really harness the potent collective shared-experience and wisdom of other likeminded (yet widely diverse) individuals.

Challenge Top-Down Change is yet another record initiative that is just starting its second phase. NHS Improving Quality is working in partnership with the HSJ, Nursing Times and Clever Together to test out crowdsourcing methodologies as a means of ‘tapping the collective brilliance of the NHS’. This isn’t about beating top-down change with a stick, but understanding how bottom-up change can flourish and meet top-down somewhere in the middle. It is about finding new and inspiring ways of challenging change dependency on top-down, change-management approaches and harnessing the energy and wisdom of the whole system to achieve transformational change for the future of our NHS.

An evocative blog by Helen Bevan makes the case to, ‘Scrap the programme: Successful change begins with a change platform‘. This approach has most certainly received support, with the #ChangeChallenge, in only two weeks receiving over 500 ideas and 835 comments with 6162 votes on the barriers and enablers of bottom-up change. Now entering its second phase, the ideas and comments have been coded, analysed and themed, and will be presented back to you to entice ‘hacks’, a call for scalable ideas that have the potential to become tangible solutions. You can find out the latest on this challenge by following the Twitter hashtag #ChangeChallenge, but I do recommend you get involved and make your mark on the way we have traditionally undertaken change in the NHS.

Turning to The Edge, despite being very much in its infancy, there are already over 6000 subscribers with a global reach of 81 countries. Since its launch on 5th November 2014, there have been over 17,500 visits to The Edge website, with over 50,400 page views from over 10,534 separate users. Now, I’m not trying to blind you with statistics! The point is, between the School for Health and Care Radicals, ‘Challenging Top Down Change’ and The Edge we are gathering momentum and energy around change agency, activism and transformational change. You can learn more about energy for change from @RosieLHunt in the classics article, ‘How can we build energy for change in health and care?

I hope you will enjoy reading and commenting on this issue of The Edge. We have hand-picked a variety of blogs, articles and pieces that will spark your imagination and  introduce some ‘out-of-sector’ thinking into health and care transformation. If you are interested in the crowdsourcing methodology of the #ChangeChallenge, you’ll like this blog by @NickKellet on drawing lurkers into crowdsourcing. On the theme of top-down vs bottom-up change, @HelenBevan provides commentary on ‘A new change management concept‘ by @HaraldSchirmer and @DigitalTonto tells us that, ‘Leadership is more important than authority in creating real change.’ I’m really pleased to provide commentary on ‘Leadership lessons from Lego‘ that taps into the creativity and freedom of childhood, which sits nicely alongside this reflection from @DomCushnan on ‘The secret to Pixar’s success: failure’. There is something for everyone in this fifth issue, so please take time to read and digest and do share your thoughts about the pieces we’ve included by voting, or leaving a comment in the box under each article.

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Jodi Brown @JodiMOlden
Senior Transformation Manager
Horizons Group, NHS Improving Quality