Skip to content

Blog post

How can we create conditions for greater depth and breadth of participation across our community?

Since Q was established in 2015, the community has grown rapidly. To meet the challenges and opportunities facing health and care, we’re looking to do more to spark and sustain collaboration between us, write Andy Galloway and Matthew Mezey.

Read comments 4

Taking a fresh look at participation in the community

The Q team has partnered with pioneering innovation company, New Citizenship Project (NCP), to explore a big question: how might we create the conditions for deeper and broader participation, whilst developing a new participation strategy in the process?

With your help, we’re hoping to build on and find new ways to enable participation in the Q community, paying special attention to the micro-networks and smaller groupings that are so important to sharing ideas, growing skills and collaborating to improve health and care.

How will we do this? And how can you get involved?

We’re embarking on a three-phase process. Over the next few months, we’ll be drawing upon our collective knowledge of what coming together to improve and innovate has looked like in the community at its best, using those insights to together develop and test ideas for fostering greater breadth and depth of participation in the future.

Phase 1: Building our understanding

There’s a lot of insight already available within Q, both from previous work and in the vast experience of the Q team and improver network of 4,000+ members. All that insight will be harnessed through interviews and research, bringing relevant learnings together to help us better understand the conditions that support people to collaborate and organise, identify areas where that’s happening already, and explore where we might build on that in future.

What’s important here?

Throughout the whole process, and particularly in this first phase, we’ll be using appreciative inquiry – a practice we know many Q members value, for example in supporting improvement processes such as Learning from Excellence.

Rather than focussing on issues that need fixing, appreciative inquiry seeks instead to start from the question “what is great here?”, building on the areas where the energy lies.

How can you get involved?

Share a story! There will be an opportunity to contribute your experiences of collaborating with others to spark change (whether that be through Q or elsewhere). We will explore what enabled that and what Q could do to inspire more of that kind of participation in future.

When is it happening?

Stories will be gathered towards the end of August. Look for the opportunity in your inbox, on the Q website or social media.

Phase 2: Co-creating

Next, people from across the Q community will be brought together to turn these learnings into a set of principles and ideas that we can start to put into practice.

What’s important here?

We understand that the means is as important as the ends – in other words how we get to the strategy is as important as what the strategy includes. In this phase, we’ll be using a practice familiar to the improvement world – co-creation.

How can you get involved?

Join a workshop! There will be the option to express interest in workshops through Step 1, with additional recruitment to ensure that we involve a range of improvers from across the community.

When is it happening?

Workshops will be advertised from the end of August onwards and will take place between September and October.

Phase 3: Action Learning

Finally, ideas and approaches developed in the workshops will be tested in an iterative way through a series of small pilot projects.

What’s important here?

If you’ve been involved in a Q Lab project, this one might be familiar! Action Learning is based on the idea that the most powerful learning comes through experience. It’s a way of involving and trusting each other, using active listening and open questions to work together for shared learning.

How can you get involved?

This process will be guided by Phases 1 and 2, but there will be broader opportunities to get involved in pilot projects too. If you already have an idea for a pilot you’d like to discuss, please do get in touch.

When is it happening?

Pilot projects will be running from October 2021 to January 2022.

What next?

We hope you’re excited to help us explore this big question with us, and that you’re interested in getting involved. Our next update will share the opportunity to contribute your stories, so do look out for that.

This is an open process that anyone can contribute to. If you have any thoughts, ideas or questions around our plan for powerful participation, please do get in touch by emailing Andy, Matthew and the rest of the NCP / Q team or by commenting on this blog.

This piece was co-authored by Andy and Matthew with contributions from Faye and Priya from Q and Anna Maria and Irenie from New Citizenship Project. You’ll hear more from the whole team at different points throughout the process. Please do get in touch with any one of us if you’d like to discuss the work.


  1. This is a great project. I'd like to see a lot more collaberation within Q.

    1. Thanks Tom, it's great that you are able to be part of it!

  2. Andy and Matthew this is great and I am looking forward to attending the two workshops.

    May I share at how I am an East of England Citizen' Senate where we are sponsored by EAHSN and I have been involved with writing some co-production training and this week am proud to have been asked to now help facilitate it.  Not sure if this helps with this work, as my saying is always TOGETHER WE ARE STRONGER AND OUR VOICES LOUDER. Thank you

    1. Thanks Szara, we're really glad you're able to join in and build this with us.

      Hope the facilitation went well!

Leave a comment

If you have a Q account please log in before posting your comment.

Read our comments policy before posting your comment.

This will not be publicly visible