Mels' reflections on NHS Citizen Leeds Design Workshop

By May 12, 2014 No Comments

As part of the project team for NHS Citizen we all agreed to provide 10 reflections following the 2 day design event at Leeds (7th and 8th May). Here is my general download carved into 10 points.

1. It was brilliant to see how active and involved the people who came are. Its seems to have become habitual to label people who readily engaged as the usual suspects, but I don’t agree, in fact their commitment as an active citizen is a pretty unusual non typical behaviour and one that we need to celebrate. This doesn’t let us off the hook though, as my next reflection indicates.

2. I know we can reach out further; student unions, mother and toddler groups, schools, mosques, supermarkets, the list can go on. However going to where the different groups of people are takes time, determination and a different format. I think this is an area that I in particular would like to put my energies into, it may be small in numbers but the conversations will be rich.

3. The energy on day 2 to delve into the feasibilities of gather was fantastic. It certainly seems that now is the time to practical.

4. Despite active facilitation that really encouraged inclusion throughout, plus lots of dialogue from participants about the importance of equal voice and listening to others, by the end of the 2 days, those who chose to share their views with the wider group by use of the mic, was small. Why needs considering as I observed some people grow quieter and others grow louder over the course of the 2 days.

5. 2 days without Wi-Fi was hard. Hard for me as an individual and hard for NHS Citizen. The ability to share and converse with people who are not able to attend the event is essential to our approach. Thanks to Tilly for her tethering which enabled NHS Citizen to make good use of twitter.

6. Questioning as clearly demonstrated at the assembly is a powerful tool that can be used in a number of ways to create a response. Many have used the skill of questioning to great effect; Jeremy Paxman to challenge and uncover, Oprah Winfrey to share and understand and Louie Theroux to learn and reveal. However, how does questioning fit in with NHS Citizen, what are they trying to achieve and should questions be applied in the context of coproduction?

7. I wasn’t too sure about the process of updating the vision document in the evening as a co-productive task. The challenge of making editorial and content changes not just with the project team but also including participants within that seemed to me a recipe for more ‘chat’ and less outputs. In a sense this was true, however, this process was symbolic of the real heart and soul of NHS Citizen and the document (which did get updated click here) was the richer for it.

8. So often labels come with preconceived ideas and to get past them can be a huge challenge. The term ‘Assembly’ is one such term. People have pre-set ideas on what this looks or feels like and as we saw demonstrated at the assembly test it would seem it is a pretty traditional them and us type of meeting. However, coproduction and networked society is redefining traditional approaches, and this is a critical arena that NHS Citizen will redefine – How exciting!

9. Someone (and they shall remain nameless) has secret porridge for breakfast alone in their hotel room.

10. And lastly, visuals visuals visuals. It was great having a graphic artist there creating large and overarching visual posters on what NHS Citizen is all about. Brilliant! Next steps let’s get some small scale visuals on what people are saying in the breakout sessions and create some visual outputs as part of capturing feedback.