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Understanding the psychology of change

Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) Psychology of Change expert Kate Hilton joined the Q Exchange Psychology 4 Improvement (P4I) team on 31 March to share her knowledge in an interactive, co-produced session. An open-access recording of the event is now available to anyone interested in this essential, yet overlooked area of QI.

I’d highly recommend to colleagues

Open to the Q community and other interested parties, the session quickly reached full capacity with 74 colleagues from across the UK and beyond. Following this, the Psychology 4 Improvement Q Exchange team is pleased to share the recording for those who missed it or who would like to revisit the session.

Kate Hilton is author of the IHI Psychology of Change Framework white paper and the bespoke virtual and interactive session was followed by group ‘Spaces for Listening’ sessions hosted by Q member Charlie Jones.

About our speaker and the session

Kate Hilton, JD, MTS, equips people around the globe to build individual and organisational capacity to address the adaptive, human side of change to improve health, wellbeing, and equity. Kate is Lead Faculty of IHI’s innovation work on ‘psychology of change’ methods for quality improvement. She gives keynotes, contributes to learning sessions, offers workshops and authors pieces on the subject, including a Harvard Business Review article and the IHI Psychology of Change Framework white paper. She is also the Lead Faculty of IHI’s Psychology of Change online course with coaching.

Check out the session via the links below and share your thoughts in the comments.

View the video of the full Psychology of Change workshop on YouTube

The session was run across six core domains, so if you would like to skip to a specific domain, click the links below.

1.       Adaptive Leadership & Mindset for Change

The psychology of change is about the science and art of human behaviour as it relates to transformation – introducing the Psychology of Change Framework.

2.      Co-design People Driven Change

Those most effected by change have the greatest interest in designing it in ways that are meaningful and workable to them.

3.       Co-produce in Authentic Relationship

Change is co-produced when people inquire, listen, see and mutually commit to one another.

4.      Unleash Intrinsic Motivation

Tapping into sources of intrinsic motivation galvanises people’s individual and collective commitment to act.

5.       Distribute Power

People can contribute their unique assets to bring about change when power is shared.

6.       Adapt in Action

Acting can be a motivational experience for people to learn and iterate to be effective.

Feedback from the day

‘This was one of the best learning days I have ever taken part in’

‘Excellent absolutely excellent’

‘Everything was so well paced and thought out. I was so grateful for the hard work gone into delivering this and excited about where we go from here’

‘At the moment my head is full of ideas and plans thanks to the workshop’

‘I’d highly recommend to colleagues’

Feedback has shown that participants enjoyed and got a lot out of the workshop that they would use in their QI practice. With an average rating of 9.5/10, it was great to see how worthwhile the session was for those taking part.

Psychology 4 Improvement (P4I)

The one-day event for the Q community and other interested parties formed part of the P4I’s activities to build psychological and relational understanding among the improvement community to support more effective improvement work.

Psychology 4 Improvement won our Q Exchange bid in 2020 with the long-term aim “to develop a Psychology for Improvement community to lead, develop and role model the importance of Psychology for Improvement in delivering human-centred, sustainable improvement in health and care.”

This event came about as a result of the P4I project wanting to co-produce in three areas:

  • a body of curated knowledge about the psychology of improvement
  • practical resources that use psychological concepts to support change and are free for people to use and evaluate
  • three networking events across the UK to disseminate resources and spread impact.

A network of Q members with a particular interest in Psychology for Improvement has also formed a growing community to share information, events and latest news with one another through the special interest group.

Find out more about Psychology 4 Improvement and the special interest group on the related links to the right or follow us on Twitter (Psychology4I).


Read Kate Hilton’s white paper, IHI Psychology of Change Framework.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s Psychology of Change programme, you can join an online course with coaching, Activating Agency with the Psychology of Change. For more information, and to register, please email

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