There’s a lot of us out there, in different industries and sectors, trying to build collaborations, develop new ways of working and change systems that are no longer fit for purpose.
Whether referred to as innovators, system changers, collaborators, community builders, navigators, knitters or something else, we are all usually glass-half-full, 'we can do this better' type people. Which is important because, let’s face it, getting diverse groups of people and organisations to work together for the greater good is not always easy, despite best intentions.
"The best things in life are free," sang The Beatles. "But," they continued, "you can keep them for the birds and bees. Now give me money…"
Is money essential in getting what you want? Is it the key factor in making change happen? This debate has lurked behind our learning events on the Prevention Concordat for Better Mental Health, led by Public Health England, supported by Kaleidoscope, along with the Centre for Mental Health and the King's Fund.
So what did we learn about money at our Sheffield event?
We were in London for face-to-face event number three in Public Health England's Prevention Concordat series, welcoming participants from across the south east. The aim of the events are to facilitate the sharing of effective practice and learning from others, and we were delighted to be joined by speakers from Kent, Southampton and Portsmouth.
A good event needs to leave you with snippets that you just can’t get out of your head, and the south east event certainly achieved that.
In my previous blog, I argued that, while successful collaboration certainly requires a 'common language', there are in fact several kinds of common language, requiring different degrees of effort to develop, and supporting collaborations of varying kinds and levels of complexity.
In this blog, I will discuss the most basic forms of collaboration. These pay no attention at all to their own cultural and behavioural aspects and deliberately restrict the flow of information between partners.
“We’re here today for enlightenment,” proclaimed Edward Kununga, Director of Public Health for Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland, at the start of our learning event on the Public Health England-led Prevention Concordat for Better Mental Health.
What springs to mind when you hear the word 'webinar'? "I can't wait"? …probably not.
Perhaps it's because we humans are innately sociable creatures that we don't enjoy staring at a screen for an hour watching a set of moving slides, but I have friends who will willingly spend time staring at a screen to watch Final Score, so I find that hard to believe.
Think of the last time you were faced with a complex challenge. One where the answers weren’t simple and the resources at your disposal very much finite.
Got one? Great. How did you solve it? Unless you have super human capabilities, I’m going to guess that it involved working with others, seeking their advice, sharing what you know, and trying to come up with a solution together.
Thank you to Rich and the Kaleidoscope team, who asked me to offer some reflections on joy in work.
When I was thinking about this, I was reminded of a story which I’d like to share with you. It’s a story about someone you might not usually associate with joy - a homeless man. But it resonates with my own experiences of joy in work. And I wonder if it will with yours.
When I was a junior surgical trainee, I was involved in a never event. For those who don’t know, a never event is an event that should, well, never happen. Like giving the wrong drug, or operating on the wrong side of the body.
This is a misnomer because, with varying frequency, they do happen.
"We need to find a common language." This is often said when two or more organisations or disciplines are working together. At first sight it appears everyone is working to a common goal: improving outcomes, reduced costs, better experience. Not much to argue with there.
Then the misunderstandings and tensions begin to build up. To try to resolve them, you go back to first principles: "It’s all about the patient!"
But by this stage, even the most basic assumptions about the partnership start to seem questionable. What, exactly, is all about the patient? What about the patient is it all about? What is a patient anyway?