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Shifting mindsets, shifting practice

For those who have experienced a big shift in perspective over the pandemic, and wish to explore and test what this means for their work, this project is for you.

Read comments 7
  • Proposal
  • 2020

Meet the team


  • Dr Claire Bastin
  • Dr Jen Dyer

What is the positive change that has emerged through new collaborations or partnerships during Covid-19 that your project is going to embed?

Based in the YH Improvement Academy I have worked with a Community Interest Company – NIFTY Sustainability – to consider how the pandemic has created shifts in people’s perspectives and how these can be translated into practice in a workplace. Shifts include understanding what makes us happy,  healthy and cohesive in a community, what makes us vulnerable, and also appreciating the things we need to nurture and grow – community, natural spaces – and the ways we need to do it – relationships, appreciating diversity, connections, time.  We are influenced by ‘Build Back Better‘ as an example of groups and organisations coming together in response to this shift.  It includes teachers, healthcare workers, students and campaigning organisations who want to capitalise on this shift and spread awareness and action into all sectors of our lives.  We are particularly interested in what these shifts mean for the notion of healthcare improvement.

What does your project aim to achieve?

This shift is unsettling: it questions how things have always been done and draws attention to personal impacts and influence.  To help people work through these tensions and generate positive change, NIFTY Sustainability and I have outlined an ‘activist workplace change’ model.  It combines principles of PDSA,  organisational learning and peer support, with concepts of sustainable development (e.g. systems, resilience, equality & ecology).

We will:

1) coach 10 volunteers from across the health sector (ideally Qs) to pilot the model to achieve ‘system change’ goals that are important to them e.g. a GP/CCG manager seeking to use social prescribing to support positive mental health through natural spaces, or a senior manager of a hospital Trust seeking to build new partnerships for health across their community.

2) refine the model and develop training materials that can be used by Quality Improvers seeking to contribute to positive system change.

How will the project be delivered?

A Project Management & Delivery Team (PMDT) will comprise:

1) Claire Marsh: Quality Improvement coaching; facilitation; health services change management; NHS sustainability.

2) NIFTY Sustainability (Claire Bastin & Jen Dyer): sustainable development research, evaluation and practice; organisational and personal change; training and education.

3) Administrator (Improvement Academy team member):  online events coordination; project administration; communications.

Critical friends‘ (Beverley Slater, Director of the YH Improvement Academy and one or two others) will meet with the PMDT at the start, middle and end of the project to devise indicators, review and evaluate impact of the model.

The model will be piloted with 2 cohorts of 5 people (members of health community across the UK).  Each cohort will receive two interactive, inspiring online workshops focusing on resilient, healthy systems.  They will set their own change ideas at workshop 1, coming back to reflect in workshop 2.  In between sessions participants can access individual telephone and email support.

How is your project going to share learning?

Through the evaluation component of this project, participants will be supported to capture and share their individual change achievements.

The evaluation  will also capture learning about the model itself so that the PMDT can use this pilot to refine for wider use.  A creative designer will work with the PMDT and participants  to co-design and publish training materials for its wider use.  Whilst we cannot predict the precise format of these, we anticipate these to include a ‘creative-style’ short video outlining the model; case studies and stories from the pilot; accessible visuals of frameworks and tools for understanding influence and action within complex systems.

These will be made available on Websites (YH Improvement Academy and NIFTY Sustainability) and will be shared at relevant networking events such as Q.

We will use these pilot cohorts as the basis to build an ongoing network for further developing this model and training package.

How you can contribute

  • Critical friends with an interest in evaluation of impact within Quality Improvement.
  • Advice and guidance about what Q members would like to see covered in the workshops.
  • Expressions of interest from potential participants.
  • Knowledge sharing around other related initiatives that this project could link with.
  • Reference:
  • UN report on biodiversity loss Sept 2020: 'The report comes as the COVID-19 pandemic challenges people to rethink their relationship with nature, and to consider the profound consequences to their own wellbeing and survival that can result from continued biodiversity loss and the degradation of ecosystems'.

Plan timeline

31 May 2021 Evaluation indicators set
30 Jun 2021 First workshop held for Cohort 1
23 Sep 2021 Second workshop held for Cohort 1
8 Oct 2021 Reflections and refinements to model & workshops
31 Oct 2021 First workshop held for Cohort 2
13 Jan 2022 Second workshop held for Cohort 2
31 Jan 2022 Shared learning workshop for Cohorts 1 & 2
31 Mar 2022 Training resources created and published


  1. Claire,

    This is a great idea and I do hope that you take it forward. If you need any process visualizations done then please let me know as I'd love to help. Good luck with your idea.


  2. Guest

    Claire Marsh 1 year, 8 months ago

    Thanks so much for your support and interest in this project Seema.  I hadn't heard of the Relationships Project but that document looks fascinating.  I will definitely have a read and share with my Nifty Sustainability colleagues.  All the best, Claire


  3. This looks like a fantastic project Claire. It seems to me that it so hard to feel we have permission to give ourselves some headspace to reflect on the wider shifts in thinking that are emerging during this time, particularly about the communities we belong to. It feels like this project will give this headspace. I wondered if you had read this?

  4. Hi Claire,

    Your project looks really interesting. Supporting people through change is crucial to it's success.

    Our project (Our Green Community) hopes to encourage sustainability change by empowering people as part of a crowdsourcing community. We also want to build in SusQI and carbon literacy. Coaching would mesh beautifully within this I suspect.

    Are you intending to just have local coaches initially? We would love to be involved - we are in the Northwest.

    How do you intend for the coaches network to spread and measure changes?

    Many questions, sorry!



    1. Sorry for the delayed reply David.  Thanks so much for your interest.  I've updated the idea a bit on the site now so please have another look.  The coaching programme will be offered UK wide (online/telephone) and it does sound like it could indeed mesh with your ambitions for change.  I like your question on measurement & spread but don't have the answers yet - should the project be successful would you like to be involved with that aspect as we think it through?  Perhaps you could be a critical friend to the project management team?  All the best, Claire

  5. Thanks Pete - yes I will definitely comment on their project idea as very keen to make this connection.

    We will be developing the information on here about the role of a coach over the next couple of weeks.  Hope you find it interesting.

    Best wishes, Claire

  6. Guest

    Peter Dudgeon 1 year, 9 months ago

    Hi Claire,

    Myself and my colleague Emma Adams (Health Transformation Partnership) are supporting the Health Foundation this year by fostering conversations between Q members and encouraging collaboration. We were Exchange applicants last year, so we’re hoping that our experience will help us to help others, as their ideas take shape.

    I notice from your comments on what contributions you'd like that you mentioned the Centre for Sustainable Healthcare. I noticed that they have also submitted an idea called: Measuring and communicating sustainability in rapid hospital discharge. Perhaps you could reciprocally comment on each other's ideas? (my apologies if you've already done this and I've missed it).

    Plus I am curious to learn more about the role of a coach - the expectation and the areas of development as 'Building Back Better' feels really important (... and I live 30 mins south of Hull!).

    Best of luck with your idea.


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