The tipping point – are we there yet?

Sometimes I close my eyes and imagine how in a perfect world innovation in health and social care would be easy.  Now don’t get me wrong I know how the system is being improved and that it takes time to really make changes.    The NHS is a mighty big ship to turn around in a short time.

I came into nursing to make a difference, to do what other had done for me when I was ill. Nurses that sat with me in the middle of the night, listened to my story and gave me hope.

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Being a patient really focusses the brain, you notice things, recognise good and bad care and you understand the things that matter.  There were lots of painful experiences as a patient, too many to mention in a blog post.  Yet simple things such as reducing the times that I needed to have a new cannula needle inserted in my arm would have made a difference.

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I remember the dread that washed over me if my IV fluids stopped flowing, or if someone removed the cannula too early when it was still needed for my treatment.   There were times when the IV would catch on something in the night and that could pull out the cannula, leaving the fluid to flow out over the bedclothes.  The challenge for the clinician was to get another cannula in my arm by hopefully finding a vein in the middle of the night.  It starts to become painful after a while when your veins decide they have had enough.

I started this post with the question – The tipping point, are we there yet?  Much has been written by  Malcolm Gladwell and others about the conditions required to get to the tipping point.  A combination of  factors that swing together as if by magic to make change happen.  John Stepper  work is a great case study for tipping points  covering how he started a work out loud #WOL movement..  Check out his TedTalk for more details.

This week  I started to believe that we have finally reached a tipping point for clinical innovators.  Why do I believe this?  Well,  Monday I was part of a national tribe of innovators, entrepreneurs and the go to team for innovation in the NHS at the launch of the first ever Clinical Entrepreneurs  programme.  The event   was inspirational and no one could doubt the passion for innovation in the room.  Talking with Dr Tony Young on the night I was pleased to hear that the plan is for future programmes to extend beyond a medical model and include other clinical professions and patients.  There is at last a real appetite for innovation in health and social care with a structure in place to support the difficult journey from having an idea to healthcare innovator and entrepreneur.  BBC Click covered more on innovation in health, interviewing Dr Tony Young and showcasing the great projects that are being supported.

To put the national picture in context with what is happening at the frontline I want to zoom down now to my role as Clinical Innovation Lead at Salisbury NHS FT where I manage an innovation portfolio of products.  As an innovator myself I have an understanding of the tenacity and enthusiasm you need to push through the challenges and finally ship a product. This helps me to challenge the status quo in a positive way and mentor other innovators.  I have worked with a brilliant clinical innovator Richard Laughton who has been shortlisted for a patient safety award.  patientsafetyawardsLinking back to my patient experience Richard looked at a real patient concern, safety and cost issue by developing his innovation whilst working on a medical ward.  The innovation called Safebreak, provides a low-cost way to prevent cannula being pulled out as identified in my narrative and ensure patient care not compromised.  I intend to ask Richard to blog on this site about the device in the next few weeks.   The device is incredible and shows that we need to support nurse innovators and give them the head space they need to develop their innovations.                        .

The Safe break device is unique in other ways too.  Normally we would develop a specification for a prototype company,  this would be an expensive and lengthy route to having an actual prototype in our hands to show to companies.  We have a 3d printing company on site and I decided to see if we could disrupt the normal prototype route by printing the device.  This reduced costs, enabled us to produce a prototype in a short time and adjust as necessary.  Real disruptive innovation happening at local level.

To sum up my week in two ways – National and Local innovation has been helpful.  It is my attempt to show that there is now a tangible tipping point with innovation in the NHS.  My challenge to you is to reflect on this blog post and see what you can do to think different!

 

RCT – A drop of serendipity

The Social Age Safari  is built on foundations of narrative and connection bringing people together and introducing the opportunity for serendipity.  The session on creativity that I presented on community touched on the way we have used RCTs (Randomised Coffee trials) in the National Health Service to spark innovation, transformational change and co-creation.  The RCT’s have been used as part of our school for health care radicals #SHCR and NHS Change Day .   Here are a few links to information on RCT’s from Horizons NHS/David Gurteen,  Nesta and The Red Cross all organisations have found the approach a simple way to generate innovation.

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RCTs aim to introduce a drop of serendipity into everyday life connecting people who would not have met each other in any other way.   Greg Lindsay talks about how people who can serendipitously bridge gaps were more likely to generate great ideas and progress professionally.   Google and other organisations have looked at how the way buildings and working practices are put together to try and replicate serendipitous opportunities.

The audience at the safari wanted to know more about engineering serendipity as it formed part of co-created learning points developed by two participants Kurt and Kate at the event.  My aim is to add to this learning point  by blogging more evidence as I complete my MSC research on innovation and clinical innovators.  Anecdotal evidence from my own experience, innovators DNA research and from the Aspen Ideas Festival 2014 suggests that innovators need to practice the ancient art of serendipity.

So I have an open invite to you to watch this space as we move towards creating the biggest ever global RCT for the next Fab Change Day  with@RoyLilley.  Sign up details for the RCT are coming soon and you don’t need to be in health or social care to join in.

 

 

 

Serendipity: A voyage of discovery

 

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Exhibit One

 

I talk a lot about engineering serendipity in life and how a simple connection can lead to a wonderful opportunity for co-creation.  For some, the whole magic voodoo of the concept needs to be dissected, examined and stuck in viewing case.  As if by pinning out the wings of creativity and hiding serendipity behind glass resets the world to safe normality.

Serendipity is hard, it’s about the baby steps you take when you are unsure, challenging yourself to carry on the path you have started even when other people don’t get it and try to take you on another route.  Seth Godin  challenges us to step up, create good work and pick our own plan to success.  The power to do this is beating away inside you, sure it can be ignored, but do you really want to do that?

There are many  individuals who heard the siren call of serendipity, connect generously with others and are now doing the very thing that others said could not be done.  Check out these stories of social age leaders @johnstepper   @CelineSchill  BrandonStanton  @ayeletbaron for inspiration.

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The #Socialagesafari led by captain JulianStodd is a way of connecting the dots  engineering serendipity by holding the space, using seafaring rituals, tokens, and storytelling whilst engaging with the community in the room and virtually.  Jonathan Anthony sums up the creative environment of the event through his blog post

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The social age is not about using tech for tech sake, but integrating the tools at our disposal to build knowledge as a wider community.  My crewmates on the safari have already started to build the knowledge and sparked provocations to seek, sense and share their learning virtually.  Harold Jache is a useful reference point on the ships compass for aspiring personal knowledge mastery.

The safari has been a voyage of discovery, via the sea of serendipity.  I aim to explore through a series of blog posts my learning and share resources from the community that connected with purpose over the last three days.  The first learning point from the event is we are all makers and have a story to share.

Here is the first co-created story from makers  Kurt Lindley and Kate Pinner with 23 lessons from the #socialagesafari.  Engineering serendipity is no 19. Enjoy.     

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