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To say that the last year has been defined by upheaval feels like a significant understatement. But it was also a year that has reinforced to me what’s really important.

The feedback we’ve had from you, the Q members, and the ways you’ve made use of the community over the past year have helped shape our plans for 2021-22. We’ve been reminded just how important Q’s founding principle remains: that we can achieve more if we are better able to learn, share and collaborate across the many silos of the health system.

The feedback we’ve had from you, the Q members, and the ways you’ve made use of the community over the past year have helped shape our plans

Here I share eight things to watch out for over the coming year. Whether Q provides the odd shot of collaboration caffeine snatched in between meetings, a key ingredient of your work as you look for new ideas and connections that might save you time, or a way to contribute to something bigger by sharing and collaborating on the big challenges the health and care system faces, we hope you can bookmark some time to get the most from what’s on offer.

  1. A new Lab project will get under the skin of a complex challenge relating to enabling effective digital change. Watch this space for an update on how you can get involved. Meanwhile Q Lab Cymru – our new Lab embedded within Improvement Cymru – will begin to provide support across Wales, for example with a series of workshops exploring the improvement skills needed for recovery.
  2. There will be two new insight projects in the coming year. If you missed them last year, check out the outputs of our video consultations work and project exploring the use of improvement approaches during the pandemic. We can learn a lot when we pool what we know, so I hope you consider sharing your knowledge when we announce the upcoming topics.
  3. If you were in the thick of it when the Q Exchange projects were announced at the start of the calendar year, check out the 30 exciting projects that are now getting going and think about what you could learn with and from them over the coming year. We’ll be launching the next funding round in early 2022.
  4. Building on your feedback from last November’s community event and Rapid Learning and Improvement workshop series, we’ll be trialling new Q-wide community spaces. These will provide a regular touch point for members to come together at a short, virtual event every few months rather than a full day event once a year – dates coming soon to mark in your calendar! And we’ll be re-starting Q visits, piloting ways to combine the accessibility that’s possible virtually with the deep learning that people have come to expect from these events.
  5. There will be more local and group spaces to learn and share. Following a lull for some as attention was focused on the immediate pandemic response, we’re seeing member and partner-led activity step up. We’ll be supporting this through some targeted funding offers. Keep an eye on the events calendar and news items to make sure you don’t miss out.
  6. You’ll find support to grow your networks. As the Network Weaving course comes to an end, we’ll be watching how the skills learnt are being applied by participants, tracking the connections that form as they go by piloting a dynamic approach to mapping networks. We’ll be repeating our Communities of Practice development programme – applications will open this summer.
  7. There will of course be more members: so think more inspiration, connections and ideas that could enhance your work and joy in work. 521 joined last year despite the pressures of COVID and we’re receiving more applications each week – so do encourage people you know to join. Check out the directory to see who’s in your area or bask in serendipity by reading our new member blogs and signing up for Randomised Coffee Trials.
  8. And in the background, the Q team will continue to learn and improve. We’ll be giving more long-term focus to equity, diversity and inclusion across Q’s work. We’re working on how we describe Q and what it offers so that it really resonates, as well as a clearer strategy for supporting members to participate and will be keen to get your input on both. We’re developing plans for enhancing Q’s digital infrastructure, establishing a new Board to oversee Q and working to raise the profile of Q with senior leaders so they can better understand and support local members to make the most of the initiative.

All in all, I hope you’ll feel as excited as we do about the plans for the next 12 months. There are lots of ways Q can support your work and learning, that together means we can achieve more for the health system at a critical phase in recovery and renewal.

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