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My mind has been buzzing since the Q community annual event. I’m feeling incredibly fortunate to have experienced such a variety of conversations and connections over the two days. But I also can’t help but ask myself ‘what now?’, ‘so what?’. What can I, and all of you, do to take a step – big or small – to make the most of that opportunity?

Over the course of the two days, we connected on a variety of themes. Conversations were flowing from co-production to service change, collaboration to equity, digital change to leadership.

But we also didn’t forget what underpins all of that – a community of members who’ve gone through such a strange and pressurised year and, in the face of that, achieved so much. We took the time needed to connect as people who all want to reach the same goal – to improve health and care. We reflected and boosted our resilience for the work ahead. This reminded us that networks, the connections, culture and mechanisms for sharing and learning, are fundamental to improving health and care.

Does everything seem more personal and interconnected because of the pandemic? Perhaps. Or is it just the nature of the world of health and care? The Q community spans geographies, topics and specialities. Maybe this is what really allows us to connect in so many different ways. The event brought that home for me.

I love that curiosity is a key attribute for the Q community.

Q was founded on a set of values including open, honest and compassionate conversations; everyone being able to have a voice; building connections with people who have a shared experience; and listening to challenges from other perspectives and roles across the system.

These weren’t ground rules or stated for you all as you entered the ‘virtual door’, but it felt like community members showed up with those values when they joined the event. As one attendee said: “I love that curiosity is a key attribute for the Q community.”

We, in the Q team, wanted to create the conditions for learning and collaboration. But you, the ones who attended, made that happen – through sharing openly and bringing your commitment and energy to improvement and learning.

We loved that many of you said that you left the event brimming with optimisim, energy, connections, inspiration and purpose.

Word cloud from the closing session of the Q event 2020
Word cloud from the closing session of the Q event 2020

But what now? Whether that was the first time you joined a Q event or you’ve been with us since Q began, what commitment do you want to make to build on what you heard and the conversations you had?

There may be activities you haven’t tapped into yet, perhaps you’ve got a clearer idea of what you need from this community of peers now, or you might simply have a great tool to share back with your team. You could join a special interest group, message a fellow member, sign up for a Randomised Coffee Trial, or browse our resources.

Both when we opened the event and at our closing session, I reflected that it is in challenging times that learning can serve us most. But it can easily be overlooked. Recognising this and making the time for learning is the commitment I’ll be taking away.

Moving to action isn’t always easy. But I hope you’ll join me in finding one thing you can do – taking a step from reflection to action.

Whether you could join the event or not, sessions are now available to watch or re-watch on the Q website. Browse by theme, exploring the topics: sustaining momentum behind positive service change; collaborating for an equitable health system; and leadership for improvement.

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