Back in January, the team that brought you The Edge opened the doors to the School for Health and Care Radicals for the 2nd year running. The School is a free, virtual, modular learning programme that is completely open access and runs over five weeks. What a fun five weeks it was too! Over this year and last, we had nearly 5000 enrollees, including 2234 live participants from over 30 countries joining us to share the learning. We also had a huge impact on social media, with a Twitter reach across the School sessions of an incredible 35.9 million impressions.
Naturally, it follows that we would run a special edition of The Edge for all of those participants (and hopefully many more besides). We are so excited to be able to share so much great content which has been hand-picked by the team, including School for Health and Care Radicals staff and students, so if you were part of the School for Health and Care Radicals, you might see some familiar names.
One of the themes that really captured the imaginations of participants in the school was the idea of being Radical, Rebellious or Disruptive. Often these are considered bad words, taboo concepts and certainly not in keeping with traditional organisational bureaucracy. The School explored ways that disruption can lead to great innovation. This is illustrated in some detail through examples in the content of this edition of The Edge. Some of the material explores disruption in a wide-reaching thematic sense, where others identify the small scale incremental changes that can lead to widespread innovation when adopted as a way of working in an organisation. One great piece talks about how Twitter was ‘invented’ through a Hackathon at a failing podcast company – a fabulous example of disruptive innovation and one that I’m sure many Health and Care Radicals appreciate greatly.
Another theme was of self-efficacy. Those of you who attended Module 5 and heard the story I told will know that this is one of my favourite subjects. I like it because of the a-ha moment that I had when I first attended the School and realised that none of us can hide from the power we have over ourselves, even if we feel powerless over everything else. This idea is explored beautifully by Adam Braun – who starts his story with the idea of getting out of his comfort zone, and ends up achieving something truly incredible. His video is an inspiring example of all of the learning that we went through in Module 1: Being a Health and Care Radical – Change Starts with me. He isn’t even from the world of health and care, but I think his tale of courage and willfulness has a strong link to the potential that we each hold, wherever we work.
The third theme that seems to carry through the School material and the content of this edition of The Edge is Thought Diversity. My favourite description of Thought Diversity is “You don’t necessarily need to think outside the box, just bring different people into the box”. There is a lot that can be improved by listening to other voices and many of the items in this edition of The Edge focus on the power held by those who don’t traditionally hold positional power. When those voices are heard, and those ideas are implemented, great things can happen. Dr. Philip Pearson’s blog as part of the recent Change Challenge series in the HSJ demonstrates with almost barn-door-obvious simplicity how much we stand to gain by embracing the ideas of the incredibly talented and enlightened workforce of the NHS. He explains that if we each had one reasonable idea per month that was implemented, that would be around 10 million improvements per year, cumulatively. With some simple mathematics (that even I could understand) thrown in, he demonstrates how this could save the NHS more money than anything suggested by a man in a suit in Whitehall.
Nothing demonstrates the power of embracing traditionally under-represented voices more than NHS Change Day, which, for the 3rd year running, this month galvanised thousands of stakeholders into action for healthcare improvement. Change Day is a shining example of the benefit of using the huge untapped potential in any organisation for large-scale improvement. One of the most striking elements of the Change Day movement in the NHS and now in other health systems is the inclusiveness of it and the resulting benefit from thought diversity. It is an example of genuine engagement, not only with the front line, but with students, patients, local businesses, councils and many more.
Thought Diversity will continue to be a theme which gets developed through the School. It is one of the Post-graduate Masterclass modules that will be run over the Spring/Summer period. Look out for more details of how to get involved.
It is an amazing privilege to be part of the community that makes up the School for Health and Care Radicals – and I know that others feel that way too. We have shared a wonderful learning experience and now that our weekly interactions are over, I am pleased to be able to keep the energy and spirit of the School alive on The Edge. As always – look out for free webinars, events and learning content on The Edge website, and use your self-efficacy to keep the energy of the School running all year around.