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The Q Lab brings together organisations and individuals from across the UK to pool what is known about a topic, uncover new insights and develop and test ideas that will improve health and care.

In May, the Lab finished a 12-month pilot project exploring how peer support could be made more widely available. In the same month, we published three essays: the first provides an overview and introduction to the Lab, the second shares the learning and insights about peer support generated through the Lab process, and the third sets out the results of a large-scale survey about patients and practitioners decision-making about peer support.

We’re excited to now share with you two more essays which focus on the Lab’s ambitions, approach and methods:

  • Impact that counts: The Q Lab seeks to bring something new and complementary to the busy world of improving health and care and this essay sets out how the Lab seeks to support people to make change happen.
  • Learning from the Lab’s approach to evaluation: This essay shares our learning and insights on how the Q Lab approached evaluation in our pilot year, as well as tools that we have found helpful which others working in health and care may wish to draw on.

Sharing learning with the Q community

The Lab is developing a new approach to supporting change in health and care, building on existing good practice within the fields of improvement and innovation and providing ways to capitalise on the broad range of skills and insights within the Q community. This is a unique opportunity and we have seen signs during the Lab’s pilot year that it will be well placed to make a difference – accelerating promising work and kick-starting new collaborations and ideas. However, we know that the Lab is not a finished product and the Lab approach will be iterated and hopefully improved over time.

These essays are therefore not intended to be a full and final account of how the Lab seeks to operate and catalyse change, but rather an open and honest account of emerging learning and insights. Drawing on the input and feedback from many people that have worked with the Lab over the last year, the essays outline what the Lab seeks to achieve and things that have worked well, highlighting tools and approaches that may be of interest to others, as well as the things we hope to change and adapt going forward.

What next

My colleague Libby has recently written a blog on our plans for a second Lab project, which will start in September 2018 and will be run in partnership with Mind – the mental health charity. Take a look if you’re interested in finding out more and we’ll be officially ‘launching’ the project in a couple of weeks. We’ll also be sharing more information about both our learning to date, and plans for the next Lab project at the Q Community event on 19 September – we look forward to seeing some of you there.

In the meantime, please read the essays if they are of interest and feel free to share them with colleagues. We have one final essay from the pilot project which will focus on our ways of working. The essay will be published in October so do look out for that and if you have any feedback or questions about the Lab we’d love to hear from you.

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