Skip to content

Q logo

On 7 May 2020 we held a workshop on Rapid Learning and Improvement during Coronavirus (COVID-19), with 160 participants from health and care across the UK and Ireland.  This was the first in a series of workshops that Q will deliver over the coming months. The workshops will support Q members and others to develop how they capture the learning and innovations that are taking place during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

These workshops are designed to help identify structured ways to make sense of what is being learnt, with opportunities to connect and share with others across the UK and Ireland. During this session we explored:

  • People’s experiences of change and innovation as a result of Coronavirus (COVID-19)
  • The tools and techniques being used for learning
  • Inspiration people are taking from other places
  • What is working well
  • The biggest challenges people are facing

This write up summarises what we heard from participants, as well as sharing how we used online collaboration tools to deliver our workshop, which we hope you find useful.

What are your experiences of change and innovation as a result of COVID-19?

Participants shared how they are feeling about the pace of change and what they feel they will need to learn to live with. These word clouds show the real mix of experiences from uncertainty to excitement, and hope to apprehension.

How are you collecting learning?

Unsurprisingly, lots of different approaches are being used to collect learning. There were lots of comments about the use of survey tools and virtual platforms that are well suited to data capture. People are also gathering learning directly from teams – using a mixture of impromptu conversations, huddles, virtual meetings and social channels. There were some examples of people forming new groups to support learning. There was also a reasonably large segment of people who felt that nothing formal was in place yet for them locally.

Who or what is inspiring your work?

People are taking inspiration from improvement organisations such as IHI and the Q community, with a significant number seeking inspiration from other Q members. Lots of people are finding inspiration on Twitter – with mentions of some individuals including Helen BevanTrish GreenhalghSuzette WoodwardAmar SharPaul Gray and Chris Bolton.

What tools are you using?

The most common tool mentioned was from ELFT, with two examples of people adapting the tool locally.

Following this, people mentioned the Collaborate CIC learning framework, AQuA’s knowledge exchange, a learning matrix developed by the RSA, and some simple tools including Stop, Start Continue, lessons learnt, and Liberating Structures What, So What, Now What.

What is working well? And what is not?

Participants shared that huge steps forward have been taken due to positive ways of working with and engaging others. But there were clear challenges to keep track of and learn from all the change and innovation taking place, as set out in the table below.

We will be looking to explore these themes further at future workshops.

Watch the presentation

Tools and techniques to run a virtual, collaborative workshop

We began with an icebreaker based on a Liberating Structures technique that was adapted to work online using the chat box feature in Zoom. The series of quick-fire questions enabled us to gather an idea of how people were feeling, what they were sensing and what they wanted to take from the workshop. The first couple of questions explored how individuals were feeling about the pace of change in their organisations, and what they are learning to live with at the moment.

We used Miro to support breakout group discussions. Miro is an online collaborative whiteboard platform, which allows people to collaborate, communicate and share ideas virtually, in real time.

There are other, similar platforms available, such as Mural and Stormboard.

Miro proved popular with some participants who were keen to learn more about how it works. To find out more about Miro, including functionality and how it can be used to run interactive, online sessions, please take a look at some of the resources linked below.

If you start to use Miro we’d love to find out more about your experiences. Contact us via

Further links and resources