Citizen power in the social age…..

I am sitting on my sofa typing up my blog whilst hearing that the new president of the USA will be Donald Trump.  A headline not predicted yet again by the polls.  We are starting to see that different power exists which run through formal and informal networks changing the dynamics of politics.  Social collaboration tools help to amplify the narrative for good or bad.  Whilst people connect, debate and challenge the norm.  Julian Stodd illustrates the tension that exists with new and old power in his blog and through this illustration.


New communication skills are needed in the 21st century and it is worth reflecting on the leadership styles of Trump and Clinton,  as highlighted within this article by INSEAD Knowledge.  Leaders now more than ever need to engage both hearts and minds in the social age to bring about change and connect.

Putting politics aside what learning can we take from the uprising in citizen power and change.  One learning point for me is that we have to seize the day and explore the opportunity in the moment.  Seth Godin succinctly covers it when he states ‘If not now, when?‘  There is a chance for everyone to stand up and be counted, to embrace co-creation and work generously with others for good.

This is work out loud week and if you follow the hashtag #WOLWeek you will see that all over the world people are connecting to share their learning and co-create projects in a generous way.  My sharing on the hashtag this week has been around the ‘Peoples Transformathon‘ #CoPro16 an event I am curating with colleagues which will share amazing examples of citizens working in co-production with health and social care to develop new ways of working. We are honoured to be the first UK event to be awarded the #EveryoneIncluded trademark and accreditation from Stanford Medicine MedX.   ei

The event was developed in response to a small group of citizens coming together with shared purpose.  The aim to make an event showing how patients, carers, volunteers, relatives, citizens could provide valuable insight for health and social care.  Working in co-production a virtual design team developed every element of the event.  Bringing alive the concepts within the following documents   The Five Year Forward View chapter 2 and the six principles for engaging people and communities.    A real example of Margaret Mead’s quote at the top of this blog.

It would be great if you could join us too on the 28th November 2016 at the People’s Transformation to make a different kind of change where everyone is included!  Why not sign up here today to be part of a fantastic free online event available to anyone across the world.


#Working out loud week 2

Thought it was worth sharing this blog from the Care Design 2016 project I worked on during WOLweek.   There will be further blog posts from the project as we move into design sprint 3.   Check out the update report with the new design principles and a call to action for case studies to be submitted that reflect good practice for each principle.

One wonderful aspect of the Care Design 2016 project was the way that individuals engaged with the crowdsourcing platform and contributed their thoughts and ideas generously to the project.

In the same spirit of generosity during #wolweek another Banksy mural appeared as a thank you to a Bristol school, which made me smile.  True working out loud Banksy!




Serendipity: A voyage of discovery


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.


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


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.     



Building products customers love (1)

My Trusty Sunflower cream is a great case study to show innovation in the NHS.  The original sunflower cream product was developed to be used by patients who had plastic surgery over twenty years ago.  My role was to take this basic product, innovate and build a product customers love.

There’s a whole raft of information on the product here which was featured on the BBC One show within a few months of launch because is was unique.  The brand is the first NHS skincare range and all profits are put back into patient care.

What I want to do in this blog is fill in the back story and piece together how innovation can be ignited in the simplest of situations.  To deconstruct my work on the My Trusty brand I will use the research of Hal Gregersen, Clayton Christensen and Jeff Dyer “The Innovator’s DNA” .  The book is a result of eight years of exploratory study by the authors to identify the key skill set for innovators.  The research identified five “discovery skills” used by innovative leaders that distinguishes them from the ordinary:

Questioning: Posing queries that challenge common wisdom

Observing: Scrutinizing the behavior of customers, suppliers and competitors to identify new ways of doing things

Networking: Meeting people with different ideas and perspectives

Experimenting: Constructing interactive experiences and provoking unorthodox responses to see what insights emerge

Associating: Drawing connections between questions, problems, or ideas from unrelated fields

Yet perhaps the most significant finding in the research was our ability to generate innovative ideas is not just a function of our minds, but of our behaviors. Thus, by changing our behaviors and regularly incorporating the above “discovery skills” in our daily lives, we can improve our innovation aptitude.  Here are a few key links – Mastery Video

The videos and research articles give you an insight into this work and I would recommend the book to anyone who wants to innovate. From a personal perspective, I would like to extend my gratitude to Hal Gregersen who has always shown an interest in my work as an innovator and has been generous with his support.

In my next blog post, I will cover the first discovery skill – Questioning and link to my work with My Trusty.  As a final takeaway here’s a great webcast on building products customers love and a video on lean start up.

If you want to find out more about the individuals behind the videos and products by following on twitter:-

@HalGregersen   @leanstartup   @ericries

@CarolLRead   @My_Trusty   @SalisburyNHS

Hack the world & bring pizza

Hacks are a new method of tackling thorny issues and building solutions in health. Originating in the tech/software industry they are creating a spark and debate as one of the new tools in the health innovators tool chest alongside unconferences, open space events and old favourites like workshops.

I have to put my hand up here and share my experience of health hacks over the last year. Honestly, they have all been different but have common characteristics.  That’s the beauty of transplanting ideas from another industry and thinking differently to solve an issue.   As we try out new approaches there is always going to be a time where we test ideas, fail fast, learn and move on to a way that works.  This explains why health hacks are fairly fluid as a methodology at the moment.  We need to understand the best time and circumstances to use a hack that will really make a difference in health and social care.

All of the hacks I have been part of have had a strong mission around transforming patient care and results have included an improved change model, ways of managing flow through the system to enable patients to flourish and preventing delayed discharge.  As a clinician, a patient and an innovator the power of hacks to bring about change in health excites me. Why wouldn’t you want to co-produce a solution to wicked problems with people who care as passionately as you do about making change happen?

They can be as techy as you want them to be.  Where tech really adds value is when it is used in a non-intrusive way to share what is happening in the room with participants virtually and capture learning.  A great example of this was during the patient flow hack with the York and Humber Academic Health Science Network.  Virtual participants took part in the hack from throughout the UK, USA, British Columbia and included patients and staff from health and social care.

My learning from the hacks is to create a sense of urgency and energy by importing some of the tried and tested techniques from tech hacks.  Do have an open invitation through social media and standard communication channels – you will be amazed who turns up either in person or virtually that can share a different perspective.  True open innovation! Order in pizza and keep the momentum going by encouraging people to break away into maverick groups or keep going for as long as they feel passionate to do so. Think carefully about how long your event is – there is something special about working with a group of people over 24 hours.  Have a dragons den pitch competition at the end and ensure your stakeholders or sponsors will take ideas forward straight away.  If in doubt Katy Brownbill suggests to plan it like a party.

Health hacks inspire people to work together, form their own groups, challenge existing approaches and fast track solutions that can be tried immediately in practice.  To give you a flavour of different health hackathons check out these links.

Flipboard magazines – HackHull1  HackHull2

Hackathons at The Edge

“Hackathon: How to use the concept of a software hackathon within the NHS”

“Hackathons: Saving the world from mediocre ideas”


A hackers view  


If you want to know more or need help organising a hack from a certificated health hack facilitator/Lecture practitioner please contact me via the website or @CarolLRead