Improvement Method Olympics

Welcome to the Improvement Method Olympics!


During August 2021 we ran Twitter polls to find out which improvement tools, methods, and methodologies you love the most!

Congratulations to our gold medal winner PDSA cycles; What Matters to You which took the silver, and our bronze medal winner Appreciative Inquiry. Thank you to everyone who took part – we enjoyed your energy and enthusiasm!

You can see which improvement methods went to the poll each day, and the winners in each round in the graphic below. To help people taking part make an informed choice when they vote in the poll, we’ve gathered a wealth of information about each of the improvement methods. The improvement methods are grouped according to the day they featured in the poll – please click on the corresponding link below.

While the #Improvement Method Olympics have finished, do keep tweeting about how you’re using what you’ve learnt. Please include #ImprovementMethodOlympics in your tweets so we can find them.

Click on the links below to find out more about the tools, methods and methodologies featured each day.

First round

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Day 6

Day 7

Day 8

Quarter Finals

Quarter Final 1

Quarter Final 2

Quarter Final 3

Quarter Final 4

Semi Finals

Semi Final 1

Semi Final 2

The Finals!

Bronze medal decider

The Final

The tools, methods and methodologies in the #ImprovementMethodOlympics

32 improvement tools, methods and methodologies are included in the #ImprovementMethodOlympics.

Improvement tools, methods and methodologies

Some of the 32 are improvement tools, some are improvement methods and some are improvement methodologies:

  • An improvement tool is a specific, standalone device or framework that we use to carry out a function that will help us accomplish a task towards our improvement goals. Improvement tools are often joined up in a process to make an improvement method
  • An improvement method is an orderly logical arrangement of processes, underpinned by a way of thinking about change, that we use to attain an improvement goal.
  • An improvement methodology is the consideration of our improvement goals and the most effective methods and tools to meet those goals; it’s the rationale by which we choose our methods and the lens through which our improvement work occurs.

We encourage teams and organisations to adopt an improvement system where the tools, methods and methodologies are connected up and interrelated so 1) they make up a comprehensive way of thinking about improvement and 2) guide the actions we take to achieve our goals. It means we can action small scale changes within a large scale framework and amplify the learning and impact of our improvement work. Every context is different and evolving which creates risks if we adopt an off a shelf improvement system that doesn’t fit our context. Yet, without a system, we might not have the capability and capacity to respond to change. For an example of an improvement system see How to move beyond quality improvement projects by Amar Shah. You can also see Amar’s article on the value of tools in structured improvement projects here.