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UK-wide Q community event 2018 – LIVE BLOG

The live blog from the annual UK-wide Q community event 2018. Get involved by commenting on the blog or via twitter @theQcommunity #QEvent2018.

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Hello and welcome to the live blog from the annual UK-wide Q community event 2018! We’ll be keeping you updated all day from the venue at the NEC in Birmingham so stay tuned, follow us on twitter @theQcommunity and get involved using #QEvent2018.

The core theme of this year’s event is collective wisdom. The event marks a milestone in the exciting Q-exchange programme, and will see 15 out of 25 shortlisted projects selected by the Q community to receive up to £30,000 of funding from the Health Foundation.

Q Exchange: what’s happened so far?

We’re expecting around 400 people from across the health and care sector. It’s an important time for the community to come together, make connections and share experiences from their individual improvement worlds. We’ll also be launching the latest Q learning report, Q: The Journey So Far, looking back at the last three years of Q.

This live-blog aims to capture the spirit of the day, the day’s activities and the discussions taking place. Please do share your thoughts in the comment section below or on twitter.

Wednesday 19 September 2018

9am – The big day!

Morning everyone and welcome to #qEvent 2018 – it’s 9am here and  everyone’s fuelled up and ready to go as the main hall in the gallery starts to fill up.

Thanks to @gmacsoctland for a recap of last year’s community event as we head into today:

And a welcome from event lead Dimple Keen:

Today is all about collaboration, sharing learning and making connections. In response to popular demand, one of this afternoon’s breakout sessions will look out how to network to your full potential. With this in mind, as people arrive this morning they’re playing a game of networking bingo to help them get to know some of the other people in the room.

If you’re at the event today, head on over to the Q/Health Foundation stand to pick up publications, goodies and general information.

The day’s agenda is about to start:

10am Opening Plenary

Penny Pereira’s opening the event today, introducing the core theme for the day – collective wisdom:

Why is this important?  Well, Q is founded on some key insights.  Firstly, improvement is a vast field and no single person is likely to be able to master it all, and so we could all benefit from having a group of friends around us with skills that complement ours. And secondly that if we could get better at sharing what we know, improvement could make a much bigger and much needed contribution to solving the challenges facing health and care services.

The founding cohort first gathered to co-design Q 3 years ago, in fact it all started in a room 5 minutes away from here in the NEC. I think we can be proud of the momentum we’ve together built around it since then.

Today we’re launching a report sharing the progress and learning from the last 3 years.  With 2,643 people now in Q, we’ve got evidence people are finding connections that help them access the knowledge they need and feel more resilient. We’re building a growing bank of stories of you sharing practical lessons that in turn help your organisations save time and resource they would otherwise spend reinventing the wheel.

What’s most exciting is that from what I can see, we’re only just getting started.  And that’s a good job, because when I think about the scale of change needed in the health and care sector in the decade ahead, there’s clearly both the potential and the need to do more.

Wherever we look in the UK, I see people setting big ambitions.

How many people work in organisations that are trying to reduce unwarranted variation between services. Any teams or organisations committed to confronting safety challenges?  Which of you work in places that aim to fundamentally redesign care around service users over the years ahead?  To make use of digital innovations? or to take waste out of the system?

These are all things that cannot be delivered without significant change management and system improvement expertise. Basically, I can’t see it being done well without all of us and all our friends.

And the skills we have will be stretched given the scale of what needs to happen. So improving our ability to tap into useful skills and expertise should be core to our delivery strategy as individuals and organisations.

So, to focus on today, how do we maximise the chance that we each take back insights that have stretched us? And that turn into action because they are really useful to the work of our organisations. And how do we create ways to learn together how to collaborate so that we can all achieve more?

Penny asks everyone in the room to discuss three things they know something about and can share learning from with the people around them – while sharing some of her own areas of expertise.

There are I believe 385 people in this room. Assuming you each filled in three cards that means there  should be 1,155 areas of expertise we could tap into.

And if we thought about the whole of the Q community, not just those who could be here today, and each of them were willing to share 3 things they know about, that would be five times the accumulated knowledge in this room and you’d get a sense of the scale of our collective expertise.

Just to test the potential to pool insight in areas of common interest, let’s try something.  In a moment I’ll ask you to hold up one or more cards.

Hold up a yellow card if you feel you have something to share on… 

Improving care at the interface between mental and physical health?

Hold up a blue card if you have experience of co-design and co-production with service users and staff?

And hold up a red card if you have expertise to offer on reducing waste?

With the energy in the room now up, Penny updates everyone on the latest Q Lab project and the plan for the Q Exchange voting session that we’ll be shortly moving into.

Q Exchange launched in the spring and 181 ideas were submitted, this turned into 139 full proposals. Shortlisting forced us to select 25 to bring here today and your task will be to help select the 15 that will receive funding. In some ways, this process is all about a structure of getting down to 15 projects. 

Over the next 2 hours we are asking you to choose your favourite five projects that you want to get funding because we think you’re well placed to judge what will make the biggest impact for patients and the health system and create useful assets and insight for Q members.

And we’re also hoping that thanks to your help all the projects will leave this room with a set of connections and supporters that will mean they have a stronger chance of success. 

We’re hoping this process means project ideas and learning have a greater chance of growing and being taken up more widely – spreading beyond the initial places where the idea started and perhaps sparking new related ideas.

The teams here have put in a huge amount of effort to get to this point and I think we owe it to them to share with them in ways that are creative and genuinely helpful. Think too about what you and others might take from the projects when thinking about what has most potential. Some projects are designed to generate specific products to feed into the community.

You might think about whether you can take a clipping and consider trying to replicate what a team’s doing, perhaps learning from them as they go, or maybe take the seed of an idea that could be planted elsewhere?  And we expect there to be inspiration and connections that you could take from flocking around projects that could be carried aloft in quite different directions. 

I defy you to manage to leave today without anything that could be useful in your team or organisation!  

Penny invites everyone to head over to the Exchange marketplace for the next two hours of browsing and live voting.

10:30am The Q Exchange Marketplace!

We’ve created a fantastic video of the 25 projects, check it out:

Delegates are visiting the 25 stands, discussing project ideas with all the teams and deciding who to vote for.

The lightening talks have also kicked off with lots of great topics designed to support voters and projects  alike.

11am – Voting is open!

We’ll also be recognising the people that contributed to the development and growth of the projects throughout the process. All of the teams have been asked to put forward the name/s of anyone they feel made a particularly valuable contribution.

12:30pm Marketplace closes – off to lunch!

The marketplace is now closing as we head off for some lunch. People will be able to continue voting until 1pm. Watch this space.

1pm Voting has now closed!

All votes are now in over here in Bickenhill and our voting partner ERS is busy counting and verifying the final numbers:

The 15 projects to be awarded funding will be announced at 4:30pm – stay tuned.

Next up – the first round of breakout sessions.

1:30pm Breakouts

Over in Making Data Count Samantha Riley, Head of Improvement Analytics at NHS Improvement tells the room:

Play back people’s data in different ways and make it real for people.

SPC is a good technique to use when implementing change as it enables you to understand whether the changes you are making are resulting in improvement.

And over in Behavioural Insights the group work with the Center for Advanced Hindsight’s took kit of cards and speed dating in practice:

The Joy at Work session has been another great hit.

And in The Importance of Networking..

3.10 pm Breakouts round 2

In their shoes: leading improvement at board level – session leads Naomi Chambers and John Glasbury ask the room, what is the role of the board?

Setting direction, managing performance and setting culture and tone of the organisation. There are different theories and behaviours about boards. High trust behaviours and high levels of challenge and engagement.

4pm The countdown begins!

30 minutes until we find out which projects will receive funding

4:30pm Closing plenary and results

We’re all gathered in the main hall to hear the results of today’s vote. There’s a great turnout, with most people having stayed for the full duration of the day.

Penny delivers the closing plenary, wrapping up the significance of today’s events:

I thought I’d start with a bit of inspiration from a different sector.  As some of you may know, Lego is behind one of the most successful examples of Crowdsourcing the world has seen so far.

Lego encourages its fans to get creative and design their own ideas for new products. Anyone can submit a design, with designs that attract the most votes moving to production – the creator then receives a 1% royalty on the net revenue.  So you can see that in one process, Lego tests demand, generates new product ideas and improves customer engagement in a way that creates a buzz that would’ve been difficult by any other method. 

Lego has several decades and millions of pounds of revenue behind them.  But ultimately we here within Q have a mission that – although my 7-year old son would strongly disagree – transcends the need to re-create lots of things a bit smaller and blockier.  

We’re here because the sustainability of health and care will rely on the ability to be able to successfully implement change in thousands of services across the UK and we together hold power to enable that to happen. 

With such a mission to guide us, I think we will be able to take these concepts of crowd-sourcing and collective intelligence, make them our own, and do amazing things. 

But just as Lego is only as good as the many pieces fixed together and as I know, gets pretty frustrating when bits get stuck down the back of beds or up noses, so, our big ambitions for collaborative learning and improvement are only as good as our ability to share with each other day to day on real issues. I hope you’ve found today both inspiring in a big picture way and practically useful in terms of what you’ll be doing when you’re back at work tomorrow. 

Q Exchange has set the tone for collaborative improvement, so let’s move on now to the results, the point you’ve been waiting for.

While I invite Zoe, who leads the Q Exchange process and Sarah, who’s responsible for all the Foundation’s improvement funding programmes to the stage, here’s a short video that tries to capture the process we’ve been through today.  

UK wide Q community event 2018 highlight video from The Health Foundation on Vimeo.

Sarah Henderson and Zoe Brewster take the stage to introduce the results. With over 1200 votes cast (with every voter having 5 votes) there was a spread of votes:

So, here we go with the results:

15 – Speed DATAing 

In joint 14th and 13th place –

A Paradigm Shift in the Role of Hospitals through Community Organising

Patients are equal partners in Quality Improvement

12 – Improving in Partnership with patients and communities, Side by Side 

11 – Repeat Prescribing – re-design through co-design 

10 – Churchdown Connections

9 – Co-developing an Improvement Capability framework and action tools

8 –  A peer led approach to evaluating the soft and fluffy

7 – Mental Health Care for Emergency Department Frequent Attenders 

6 – Support domicilliary carers to identify deterioration using ‘softer signs’ tool

5 – “I should only need to tell my story once” Giving care home residents a voice

4 – Co-designing the use of NHS Near Me at home

3 – Transfer of learning from QI training for better impact on care

2 – Making Data Count 

1 – Time Bank 

So with the results now in, Penny closes the day.

So, those are all the teams that will receive funding.  Whether or not you made the last 15, what I’ve felt in this room today is profound respect for the ideas, energy and collaborative spirit that all the bidders have brought to this process.

We hope that those that haven’t received funding through this process, will be able to leave today with their heads held high and indeed full of suggestions and points of connection that will help you find other ways to take your work forward. 

We’ll be all around you wishing you well, and here to help you over the months ahead and keen to learn with you as you go.    

And a closing word from Sarah Henderson:

UK-wide Q community event – Sarah Henderson from The Health Foundation on Vimeo.

A massive thank you to all the bidders and members that made today possible. It’s been a fantastic event, with consistently high energy and a tangible feeling of collaboration.

That’s a wrap!

Tuesday 18 September 2018

Ahead of the big day..

1pm – The event kicks off tomorrow and in advance here’s a quick look at the pre-event afternoon activities.

We’ve just arrived at the NEC to welcome the representatives from the 25 shortlisted exchange teams, who are all coming to attend a pre-event workshop in advance of the big day tomorrow.

People are arriving from all over the UK and excitement is building, not just for the exchange but also all of the great group sessions and activities that will be taking place.

Arriving at the NEC we’re also thinking back to Q’s first co-design workshop that was held in this building three years’ ago. It’s a reminder for many of how far Q has come since the founding cohort of 231 members joined and helped shape the Q that we see today.

Speaking of which – we’re really excited to see that the Q learning report has been delivered, hot off the press and ready for the delegates to receive.

3pm – The exchange teams have all arrived and are gathered together to discuss thoughts about tomorrow’s live voting session. For many it’s the first time to meet each other and share experiences (and nerves!) ahead of the big day.

All the teams will have stands in the marketplace style live exchange tomorrow, where they’ll have the opportunity to present their projects to the other attending delegates. Teams will be able to cast votes in the same way as regular delegates and so this afternoon as well as practicing their presentations, they’ve also spent some time reflecting on how to vote and how to give feedback.

How are we evaluating the Q exchange expierence? Find out more from Tom Ling here.

5pm – There are so many great projects here, it’s hard to predict who will walk away with the funding tomorrow. As the afternoon draws to a close project leads Penny Pereira and Zoe Brewster share their thoughts:

UK-wide Q community event 2018 from The Health Foundation on Vimeo.


  1. 2 minutes to go and feeling really nervous about QExchange results. Whatever happens thank you to all at the Q community for your support.

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