Last year we ran our first-ever collaborative funding programme, Q Exchange, with the aim of surfacing improvement ideas, creating better links between members leading improvement work, and to give out small-scale awards to project teams chosen by the community. We didn’t really know what to expect, however as soon as the first stage came to a close and 181 project ideas had been submitted to the website, we knew there was a clear appetite from the community for this type of funding and that we would want to build on the pilot year.
As with any improvement project, it was important that we evaluated and collected feedback throughout the various stages of Q Exchange. By October, after the 15 winning teams had been announced, we had gathered feedback and insight from over 200 members. We have been using this data and insight from members about their experience of being involved in the programme to help us improve and build on the design for future rounds.
What went well?
We were pleased to hear that members found it meaningful to take part in Q Exchange regardless of the outcome. For many, it became a useful springboard to source ideas, resource and feedback from the community, and a way to validate their project so they could get the recognition and backing from their organisations to take ideas forward. Members also valued the openness of ideas and having a place online to interact with other members and make fruitful connections to support them in their work.
So, what’s new for Q Exchange in 2019?
While many of the core principles will stay the same, Q Exchange 2019 will be bigger and bolder in scope. We’re excited to announce that this year the programme will be jointly funded by The Health Foundation and NHS Improvement, meaning we will be able to make additional awards, and once again will be open to all Q members to apply for bids of up to £30,000 each.
We heard from many of you that the funding pot for Q Exchange 2018 wasn’t entirely clear, as it was one open pot with a suggested theme for peer support. We’ll therefore be testing a different model this year, having two themes – one broader, one more specific – with equal but separate pots of funding.
Streamlining the application stages
Based on the feedback we received during the formal application stage last year, we’re also looking to significantly improve the online user experience for bidders, ensuring applicants get as much value as possible from the online engagement elements of the programme.
Greater voting participation
Last year we partnered with the Electoral Reform Service (ERS) to pilot a robust and transparent voting process at the UK-wide community event. Having successfully tested this approach during the pilot, we’re excited to say that this year we will open voting to all Q members so that members can vote online from anywhere across the UK.
Learning and support offer
Finally, we want to explore ways to support members earlier in the bidding process. As it stands, the community is made up of nearly 3,000 members from a variety of backgrounds and experiences. We want to capitalise on this plethora of expertise, by creating a mechanism for peer learning and sharing so that members can build their confidence when designing projects and putting together a bid. This would benefit all participating applicants, not just those selected for funding.
We need your help!
We are currently redesigning the programme to make it more meaningful, engaging, collaborative and transparent for everyone taking part.
If you would like to share your thoughts and comments on our approach for Q Exchange 2019, and want to get involved, you can sign up to the online group space. Over the coming weeks, we’ll be posting questions and requests for feedback and input to help us with the design. If you have any questions you can also email us at QExchange@health.org.uk.