Care Design 2016

Care Design 2016 – Empowering citizens for health

Crowdsourcing. Open Innovation. The ‘wisdom of crowds’. Co-creation. These terms are cropping up more and more frequently in both blog posts and board rooms, and it would be easy to dismiss crowdsourcing as the latest management zeitgeist. However, at Crowdicity we see every day how connected crowds are able to find more, and better, solutions, and that they have the power to drive change.

Last year, using the Crowdicity Ideas Management Platform, The Edge invited a community of Healthcare professionals to help define and put into practice a series of principles related to Care Design. This online community sought to not only define the principles, but to also share ways of putting them into practice. The Care Design community became more than a place for sharing ideas on a topic, it became a hub for sharing resources and practical advice for the implementation of better care design.

Co-creation projects are not limited to experts and leaders in particular fields, the beauty of crowd sourcing innovation is that ideas can come from frontline staff. Often, it’s the people on the ground, who know the day-to-day challenges of healthcare, that are the least likely to be asked for input in strategic decision making, Crowdsourcing gives these people a voice.

One of our earliest successes at Crowdicity was in the healthcare sector. We helped Dorset Health Care University NHS Foundation Trust to design and launch a community called i-matter, a system that was open to all members of staff within the trust. In the first three months, i-matter captured over 1,430 individual contributions across ten challenges. This has resulted in a number of ideas being taken forward and adopted, one in as little as 22 hours. Furthermore, because the project engaged staff, they were more committed to implementing the ideas that they helped to create! Read more about the i-matter project in our case study.

Taking the idea of frontline, crowd-sourced innovation one step further, we helped the University Health Network (UHN) in Toronto set up an online community to discuss how its hospitals sourced and delivered patient meals. The overall goal of the UHN team was to find a way to use more local sources for food, whilst also balancing patients needs and budget constraints.

The crowdsourcing project sought the views of staff, patients and the local community. The aim was to get a better picture of the challenges involved in changing the patient food system, and to understand the views of staff and patients. In their own words, the leaders of the initiative explained:
Crowdsourcing generated interest and engagement from the community. It uncovered broader discussions on the challenges with hospital food, and a glimpse into the disconnect between ideas and realities.
Adeline Cohen B and Kady Cowan
Exploring the place of Ontario food at University Health Network, March 2015

These case studies illustrate the power of Crowdsourcing in healthcare innovation; connecting experts, frontline staff, patients and the wider community provides decision makers with a wider range of perspectives and ideas. In addition, co-creation communities also allow staff to have a say in how their patients’ care is designed and executed; giving them a voice creates a more empowered, more engaged workforce. In short, crowdsourcing absolutely deserves its place in healthcare innovation today.

Amy Breedon – Jones
Customer excellence Manager

Transforming care through new design principles and citizen power


We have listened to the crowd, reviewed the data and are now in our final sprint for Care Design 2016. The process has been an incredible journey and challenged the team to reflect on the data and the emerging methodology used. A call to action from the Horizons White Paper: The new era of thinking and practice in change and transformation (2014) highlights the need to embrace new methodologies for change, beta test in public and at pace. Therefore the final design principles shared are based on solid research evidence and consultation with the expert panel and crowdsourcing participants from all over the world through a change platform.. A useful EdgeTalk covers how we have entered an era for change platforms.

If you are going to use citizen engagement then the results will not necessarily conform to your expectations. The Guardian video brings together the salient crowdsourcing points from the case of Boaty McBoatface and the consequences of ignoring your engaged citizens.

poll results

Moving swiftly on from Boaty, we found that crowdsourcing participants in Care Design 2016 made us think deeply about language and the importance of clarity, the impact of certain words and perceptions. My personal reflection is that the diversity of the participants added to the process and if we are serious about co-production we need to understand how to work together to change systems in a meaningful way. I don’t have all the answers, but I can listen, engage and channel contributions that have been generously given. In the 21st century we have many tech tools at our disposal the trick is to use them in a way that enables social connection and co-creation. Julian Stodd talks about an architecture for learning technology and states that All too often organisations write their own narrative and try to impose it on to people. To flip this approach with the change platform, the Care Design 2016 team act as curators of change and draw out the meta narratives of the crowd.

There is definitely an interest in the crowdsourcing methodology from healthcare organisations around the world and it is important that the Horizons team can show emergent data in real time through reporting and blogging about the process. The wisdom of the crowd is important, aligned with case studies put forward from individuals and organisations in health and social care. The principles are a tool to use and redesign care. It would be fantastic to hear from people who feel able to try out the principles, send us case studies linked to the individual principles and share their user experience @theedgenhs.

A final takeaway from this blog is a selection of curated links on Crowdsourcing

Change Challenge

Nesta – Social innovation/Crowdsourcing

Crowdsourcing fuels innovation

How crowdsourcing is used in the NHS

Crowdsourcing research through social media

Carol Read
Transformation Fellow – Horizons NHS England