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From the outset, Q has always been about learning. In fact, members’ top two reasons for joining Q are because they are passionate about improvement and they want to learn from others*.

As we continue to develop Q and make it easier for members to learn from one another, it’s important to consider what motivates us to share and learn, both within and from Q. While this is a complex area and people will have unique perspectives, I’ve had a crack at trying to articulate four key elements.

1. We’re learning about what works to improve quality, as well as what doesn’t.

We’ve heard that events, the Q website and Twitter are really helping the community to connect and collaborate. These are spaces to see what’s going on, ask questions to help with your work, find resources and inspiration – and share your learning with members.

Building on this, we want to make insight easier to access and make learning more continuous and intuitive… if we get it right it should even be fun! So we’re working with the Democratic Society to design and implement useful ways to share stories, knowledge, insight, ideas and experience across and beyond Q. We’re also thinking about how we harness and curate the unique and powerful collective intelligence of Q and make this meaningful.

Members will be closely involved through this process, and we hope you’ll get on board and help us shape an infrastructure and culture that will truly help you with your improvement work. If you’re keen to be a part of this, please get in touch with Noah Curthoys from the Democratic Society.

2. We’re increasing awareness about who’s improving across the UK.

Thousands of members will be welcomed into the community this year from across the UK. While this may seem exciting and ambitious at the same time, the Q directory is a great place to start to get to know new improvers. Keep an eye out for events kicking off from March to welcome and meet new members. You’ll also be able to hear about members through interviews – such as the inspiring anaesthetist Carolyn Johnston. If you would like to tell your story in this way, get in touch with our Community Manager Matthew Mezey.

Social network analysis (SNA) is another technique we can use to understand more about who is improving and how improvers are connected to one another, within and across geographical and professional boundaries. The first SNA of the community was published within our learning report, Building Q and showed that the average number of connections in the community grew from 5 to 15 over a period of six months in Q.

Members will have recently received a survey from our independent evaluation team, RAND Europe, which will help us learn more about connections between members and the contribution of Q over time. This survey will also contribute to a deeper understanding of how communities increase capability for improvement – and results will be shared with the Community in the spring.

Understanding a diverse group of improvers in more depth – and telling that story – is something we are aiming to do with your help. We recognise once the first round of nationwide recruitment is complete at the end of the year, the community will be amazingly unique. It will consist of thousands of passionate, experienced improvers – who we have a lot to learn from – so watch this space.

3. We’re curious about how improvers can tackle problems in a more joined up way.

As you’ve probably heard, plans are well under way for the Q Improvement Lab and the theme has recently been chosen: ‘empowering people to manage their own health and care needs’. The Lab will involve people from within and outside Q; from many different areas, backgrounds and perspectives working together to use innovative approaches to tackle complex problems. To draw maximal learning from this process, we are commissioning a separate formative evaluation to focus on the Lab. We’ll share more details about this once the team has been appointed.

4. We’re fascinated to learn what contribution a community approach like Q can make; to you as members, your organisations and the sector more widely.

Evaluation is a key part of Q, and RAND Europe has been providing regular feedback of insight and analysis since co-design in 2015. The purpose is to help improve the design and delivery of Q (to better understand how Q itself can make the most meaningful contribution) and then understand what contribution it is in fact having – on members and more broadly.

I’d love to extend a huge thank you to all of you who have been contributing to this evaluation. This insight is both stimulating and challenging, and continues to inform our decisions and the ongoing shape of Q.

If you would like to learn more about what the evaluation is learning, the report from the first phase contains interesting findings, particularly on large scale collaborative design. I’m also going to be sharing findings from the evaluation with you more regularly through these blogs, and letting you know how we are responding.

I’m fairly excited about all that I’m learning and feel that I’ve barely scratched the surface. How about you? What do you want to learn from Q?

*Results of survey distributed by RAND Europe to members who applied to join Q in late 2016.

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