Creative Spaces for Building Better

Building Better title card

What do creative spaces, for the purpose of nurturing innovation, look like?

I believe I found one in a corner of the wild West Midlands run by the National Trust. I made a short film about it called Building Better – it’s a work in progress but you can see  it, and comment, over on LinkedIn.

Please let me know what you think :)

LinkedIn: Creative Spaces for Building Better

den building 1

Moonshot!

Not sure of the context or origin of this – and maybe that’s the best way to view it…

My take on it is that this is how prepared you should be when making a pitch – if you don’t believe in it then no one else will. And if you’re going to make a change, make a big one, aim high. That’s all.

Visualising Commitment – #1kHands

pcic4 Hall 2

If you would like some background to this then go here: Commitment Of A Thousand Hands – #pcic4 With a background in illustration and graphic design the power of the ‘visual’ is central to what I do. Done well, visualisation can be an incredibly powerful tool – drawing, filmmaking, photography – they all draw the eye, and the eye of the mind, leaving an picture that’s not easily forgotten. Great story telling is a powerful learning tool and an image has the potential to tell a story in a glance. I hoped that The Commitment of A Thousand Hands (1kHands) would capture visually what change can look like when many put their hands to the work. Equally the individual contributions had to mean something in isolation. I believe I achieved that. So lets hurtle back three weeks and see what happened:

Hands Title Hashtag

Compare and contrast…
Above: The image in my head – used to promote the idea of #1kHands before the event
Below: What actually happened – hands (commitment) gathered during 28th May

1K Hands Glasgow SECC

Below
– Watch 1kHands build throughout the day…
It wasn’t easy and there was a distinctly slow start. The first day was spent letting people know that 1kHands was coming and what they had to do; but I wanted them to be moved and/or inspired by the plenaries and workshops so the real work didn’t start until day two. To be fair, asking clinical people to draw around their hands comes across as a little odd, but in the vein of the ‘Lone Dancing Guy’ (Derek Sivers TED talk which played out at the end of the conference), the ‘arty type’ soldiered on. pcic4 SECC armadilo Appropriately enough the 1kHands definitely experienced the same pattern of momentum seen in the video. It takes courage to join a movement during the very early stages and I’m not sure it would have taken off at all had it not been for the  serendipity of having a late keynote speaker. Keen to fill time the event organisers hastily filled the main hall with coloured paper and my instructions to “Draw around hands and commit!” By 11am the speaker had arrived, spoken, and I couldn’t move for coloured hands. pcic4-tipping-point After that it was easy… 1kHands had reached critical mass; the tipping point; and everyone wanted to get involved with the weird thing up the corner with all the coloured hands on it… or so it seemed. The reality was that I counted around 200 hands on the final piece (about a third of the attendees) but it looked (and felt) like much more. However, the seed is sown and I see no reason why 1kHands can’t continue elsewhere. Another conference. Another sector even. Perhaps it’ll work online. The point is that #1kHands is not strictly about healthcare. It’s about collaboration, courage and thinking differently in the face of resistance, strange looks and scepticism. The Dancing Guy may be the innovative leader but until someone else sees the value and invests in the idea the Lone Dancing Guy is still just a guy dancing on his own. pcic4 drawing around hands pcic4 cutting out hands The 1kHands wall at Healthcare Improvement Scotland’s Learning Session Four (Glasgow, May 2014)  (#PCIC4) celebrates the army of ‘dancers’ who were prepared to put up their hand and commit to doing better. Beyond that 1kHands celebrates anyone prepared to put up their hand and commit to meaningful change.  pcic4 commitment The inspiration for #1kHands was from a talk at the previous Learning Session by Dr David Reilly who has since been in touch and is very encouraged by this next step, as illustrated by his tweet:

We intend to meet up and talk about the future of #1kHands… the ‘movement’ (that’s a medical reference). Until then please keep the has tag alive – tweet your commitment (with a pic of your hand if you can) and tag it #1kHands – it doesn’t matter if you’re health care, social care, local government, education, public, private or voluntary; and if you want to create your own 1kHands wall of commitment at an event then be my guest – just tweet or email me about it – whatever you do just put up your hand and commit. Below: The final #1kHands wall final 1kHands wall

Commitment of A Thousand Hands #1kHands #pcic4

“Would you be kind enough to put up your hand if you feel the human side of care is under unacceptable strain in today’s healthcare systems.” 

Hands Title Hashtag

This is the statement posed by  Dr David Reilly at NHS Healthcare Improvement Scotland’s (HIS) Learning Session three, November 2013. Reilly goes on to say,  “I’ve nicknamed this for myself as “The Conversation of A Thousand Hands” because all of the hands are going up.”

On Tuesday and Wednesday of this week (27 + 28 May) I’ll be working at HIS Learning Session Four at Glasgow’s SSEC. My commission was to create an graphic illustration that captured the journey of the collaborative and the two day event, from speakers, attendees thoughts and responses.

Inspired by Reilly’s “Conversation…” I was keen to make the illustration about ‘action’ – my solution I call “The Commitment of A Thousand Hands” (#1kHands). The hands I hope to document are not hands in the air signifying their discontent with a system but a show of hands intent on transforming the system.

hands pledge

In the words of HIS website, “The aim of the learning session is to provide support, encouragement and inspiration to make sure attendees have testing activity in all five areas of the “Must Do With Me” elements.”

“…support, encouragement and inspiration” are all very well at an event and without a doubt ideas will be formed and promises made. However, in the cold light of day, back at work, in isolation, our promises seem much more onerous and perhaps insignificant.

And so “The Commitment of A Thousand Hands” aims to instil a vision in the attendee’s minds of many hands together – It references the idea of “aggregation of marginal gains” – that while small individual efforts may seem almost insignificant, when gathered together these commitments have the potential for significant transformational change.

So get involved – on the coloured paper provided draw around your hand and write your pledge/commitment on the palm of your paper hand. I’ll then take the hands, cut them out and create the collage of hands reaching upwards. You can post as many times as you like…

 

The Commitment of A Thousand Hands is about collaboration, diversity and the practicality of action, doing and work. Each hand is as unique as the commitment associated with it. As an individual you are not simply committed to a single piece of work on your own, but a collective work (with the support in spirit) of a thousand hands.

There will also be a postcard at the event (below). Again, write your pledge onto the a pre-printed hand and fill out the information on the back – please do both and feel free to use the same idea/pledge on both.

HQI Pledge Postcard

To illustrate the #1kHands process I have made a short film – please share it as widely as possible with those at the conference. Also look out for your contribution on Twitter using the hashtag #1kHands alongside #pcic4

Here you can watch Dr David Reilly from last November’s session. (This link will take you directly to the statement at 1:38)

Are you coming to #pcic4? What do you make of #1kHands ? Comments below please…

Wellderly – collaborative participation

wellderly figures

My wife is currently studying on the Design for Services Masters programme at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design (Dundee University). Along with two colleagues from the course she has been working on a submission for the Young Innovators Challenge (YIC) – entitled Wellderly.

“The Young Innovators Challenge returns with a new focus on social innovation. This is a great opportunity to develop ideas and new ways of tackling real issues that can make a difference in Scotland and beyond.” Scottish Institute for Enterprise website

wellderly set

Above: The stage is set. The whole film was captured and edited on an iPad with the models set out on a ‘lazy-susan’ to reduce the need for moving the camera. 

My involvement was purely digital – in that I helped create the movie. The script and models were all Keerthana, Jenni and Moyra. I took the pieces and the audio and put them into what you see below. We were tight for time which meant about three hours preparing the various elements and then four hours the following evening to animate the 90 second film – submitting in time for the midnight deadline with (literally) seconds to spare!

wellderly animation stuff

I hope you like…

I would consider this a prototype. At some point in the future I would hope to tidy it up a little – maybe add some sound effects – but I’m pleased to say that Moyra, Jenni and Keerthana have been announced amongst the finalists for YIC 2014, so, along with a very good idea, our little film did the job.

wellderly timing sheets

Above: Timing is everything – key points in the audio are mapped to two, three, second chunks which allowed me to work out how many frames I needed to capture for each segment.

Incidentally, in reference to my previous post on ‘social innovation’, the Scottish Institute for Enterprise (who organise YIC) offer their own interpretation of social innovation as “Social innovation is an emerging global phenomenon that brings together enterprising and entrepreneurial thinking with creative innovative skills to deliver solutions with a social impact. Done well, it changes people’s lives and communities for the better.” – again, it’s quite broad, but worth a read I thought.

wellderly title

Please let us know what you think of Wellderly by leaving a comment here or by contacting  Moy, Keerthana or Jenni.

Social Innovation is… in The Melting Pot

On Thursday of last week, representing SSSC, I joined a group of people from the world of Scottish Government, NHS, Social Work, Social Enterprise and private social organisations, at The Melting Pot, for a day of conversation and activity around the question:

How can we put social innovation to work for the people of Scotland?

The Melting Pot Question

The pitch I received was: “Join a conversation to explore this question, make new connections, and be a part of creating the conditions for social innovation to flourish in Scotland!

What is Social Innovation…?
Funded by Scottish Government, The Melting PotScotland’s Centre for Social Innovation – are “…opening up a national conversation on how to meet the challenges and opportunities surrounding social innovation in Scotland; how to enable and support social innovation so that it fuels positive change across all aspects of Scottish society and economy. The results of these events will help inform policy thinking across Scotland ahead of preparations for a new wave of European Structural funding.

It was a busy day of workshopping and conversation – with welcome, strategically placed, breaks to chat to the other attendees and make new connections. The Melting Pot facilitate using the ‘Art of Hosting’. I haven’t had chance to Google or investigate further but I understand it to be about creating the appropriate environment for the task at hand – just as you would if hosting a party. anyone familiar with ‘good’ collaborative and visualisation techniques would have been as comfortable with the approach and activities as I was.

The aims of the conversation were:

  1. To share learning about what might be meant by social innovation and what is already going on across Scotland
  2. To build a vision collectively about how social innovation can be put to work for the people of Scotland, and to begin to address the conditions that need to be put in place for this vision to be realised
  3. To build and extend connections and networks between social innovators and influencers
  4. In these ways, to build a stronger basis for moving forward and maximising ability to ‘grow’ social innovation across the country, and for that growth to make a difference to the people of Scotland

The Melting Pot Dear Granny

Social Innovation is… in need of definition?
The first session of the morning was spent in small groups (of 5/6) attempting to answer the question, “Social Innovation is…”. The challenge is that both of those words can be very, very broad by definition. I’m of the opinion that ’Social Innovation’ is about understanding and agreeing on the outcomes, benefits and successes within a specific context – within an organisation; within the confines of a project; or as part of the values and vision of a team of people. If we know what we mean by it – in our context – then maybe we’ll be clear on what we expect from it, and (most importantly) we’ll recognise successful social innovation when we see it.

Social Innovation is… in the small things.
The potential of social innovation is huge, and so it rings true that the ‘cover-all’ term be huge too. But while the impact has the potential to be huge, insight and understanding is to be found in the small things. People not organisations; increments and not broad strokes.

The Melting Pot PledgeSocial Innovation is… going to take a while..?!
The day at The Melting Pot was a positive start at what, potentially, could be a very long process. It would be great if the next step was to synthesise the ideas from the day to create themes under which participants, and perhaps a wider online community, could submit practical project/initiative ideas to prototype and pilot.
A common denominator of people interested in this kind of work is a desire to get-our-hands-dirty. Let’s dig in with the people we aim to serve through this process and find out what are they looking for; what needs to change; and how do we make an impact?

Social Innovation is… wrong..!?
Of course listening is important. It’s essential. But sooner or later there needs to be action; inclusive, collaborative participation to gather as open and honest a conversation as possible, upon which to act and make a difference. But. Reserve the right to be wrong. Innovation brings a certain amount of risk and no one ever created anything radical knowing ‘beyond certainty’ that it was going to succeed. So learn to recover from risk, not avoid it.

The Melting Pot quotes

Social Innovation is… on Twitter
But then what isn’t?
You can follow @TheMeltingPotEd, and for your convenience clicking on #NationalConv will take you directly to the feed of the soundbites from the day and help you catch up with the conversation.

Images from top to bottom: 1. The Question, 2. Reading our letter from 2050, 3. Pledges from the end of the day, 4. Reflections no stories of social innovation.