Collapsing context

This is by way of a very quick reflection on last week. It was supposed to be one on the latest NHS Citizen design session but the whole week has felt very connected so I think it makes sense to think of it that way rather than trying to keep it silo’s. I’m collapsing my own context [JARGON!! Context collapse: the way in which your different persona’s come together online whether you want them to or not (here is Danah Boyd explaining this much more eloquently]. So – last week I was in Leeds and Ipswich doing a variety of things:

  • Had chance to follow up with some of the interesting people I met in Leeds a few months ago – including the awesome Victoria who took me to a lecture at the Institute of Political communications which for people like us is FUN
  • two days of amazing NHS Citizen design workshop
  • A networked councillor workshop in Ipswich – bringing together members and officers for the first time

Why is this all connected? I think because the problems facing public services and shared across all part of government and because all these conversations were about new ways of working together and with citizens.  Also – I am lucky to work with amazing people across all of these projects and they might find it interesting to see the other stuff.  So – the reflections:

  1. I am in awe of the graphic artist we worked with – her work really captured and illuminated our conversations – amazing
  2. We really need to start to illustrate the NHS Citizen system as that vision document is now way too complex.  We also need a way of ‘welcoming’ people into the document and the process.
  3. I really liked the use of the jargon buster at the Assembly meeting – though this should probably be a plain english thing not just jargon.  Plain english shouldn’t mean dull english though – I’d like to think about how we make the words we use more elegant and precise and not just plainer.
  4. We made a big effort to involve people with learning disabilities in the event – represented by the fabulous team from Change People. It was hugely worth the effort not simply because its the right thing to do but because again and again their contribution brought us back on track in terms of thinking about real people trying to operate within a complex system – and this is a thought that needs to be at the heart of NHS Citizen
  5. The space you work in and how you use it makes all the difference to any interaction – we have to carry what we learned about this in Leeds over into the digital space and make sure that we do not recreate power and privilege online
  6. Once you are connecting people and organisations together it is impossible to ignore the fact that balancing local/national priorities is difficult. This is not news – but its a conversation which highlights the differences in different localities and the reliance that we have on informal relationships which are difficult to translate to the national conversation. We’re going to need to explore how to balance this in different ways in different places in the context of a national system for NHS Citizen because a national standard approach would not be able to either benefit or benefit from the energy in local areas.  This is an interesting point of connections with networked councillor as well as the local conversations in marvellous Leeds.
  7. We should be talking about digital inclusion in terms of wider social inclusion – again and again I find people who have misconceptions about who is online and this is a false barrier to change. We won’t be able to unlock the potential of digital tools without being honest about this. This is not just about making progress – its also about freeing up resources to help the people with genuine challenges around all kinds of access.  This point came across both with networked councillors and NHS Citizen
  8. Developing the skills for these new ways of working need time. We are taking 6 months to work with the networked councillors, 4 one day workshops plus online contact and officer support. We have to think about the level of commitment we can expect and how we can support the board of NHS England through this change as their behaviour will be critical in making NHS Citizen work
  9. My excitement about the potential of NHS Citizen continues to grow – but there is a huge amount of work to do and I think this means we need to go beyond co-design and into real co-production in terms of the design process and involve more people. Not sure exactly what this means but we have some amazing collaborators and we perhaps need to think about how we work with them more effectively.
  10. Balancing speed and reflective practice is difficult. I am going to see if we can deepen our thinking around agile principles in order to help support that balance
  11. You need to adopt a rhythm in co-production or you will never finish. This means that some people will be excluded from the process because they won’t be there – the only way to reconcile is, I think, to welcome new people quickly and effectively and commit to iterating and developing ideas – involve people in the next version. There are challenges to this in terms of ownership and behaviours but I hope this will be part of the NHS Citizen learning as it will be important that we never start to think we will ever finish it – it will always need to adapt and develop.
  12. I need to brief the team properly about the webcasting tech we are using.  Reading other people’s reflections makes me realise how constrained people feel by the cameras – it really doesn’t have to be that way!
  13. Victoria Betten is doing some really fascinating thinking around social media, mental health and co-production and you should give her a read

Thats it – roll on:

  • 24-25th July in Bristol (our next design session) where we will be trying out some of the tech and mixing things up again
  • This week as we start the Networked Councillor programme in West Sussex (where I live! Hurrah!)
  • Next steps of thinking about things to do in Leeds….



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *