Zoe Lord from NHS shared how the NHS are making some huge improvements in the NHS. She explained why they’re using new thinking – crowdsourcing, hackathons and how they have put these methods into practice.

Zoe said:

“We are using new methods – people want high quality, safe care. It’s about real people, I want the best for my family, my community. Traditional methods have been used for years, not quite getting us where we need to be. Not the results we desire. 70% of change programmes fail – everything needs to to be quicker. What’s out there, how can we translate that for the NHS? Old power, new power; successful organisations look (Ross Dawson). We know people support what they create.”

Crowdsourcing is “a way of solving problems and producing solutions by connecting on line with people you don’t already know.”

The Change Challenge – crowdsourcing

They decided to crowdsource some views on what the NHS thinks about the barriers and challenges to change. Over-controlling leadership,  confusing strategies, undervaluing staff were some of the barriers.  Then they crowdsourced the things that enable change – and – the opposites of the barriers were described.

Ran it as 12 week projects; sprints – provide guidance step by step way of what to do.

Zoe described their learning from crowdsourcing:

Be explicit about the purpose
Ask the right question
Crafting the right question takes time
Test it first
Right crowd
Keep it simple
Keep the time-frame flexible
Respond to comments
Use the Right platform
Warm up act – get it started


Perry Timms introduced the concept of a Hackathon to Zoe.  It’s about deconstructing and reconstructing ways of working.  Zoe described the NHS change model and why they decided to hack it.

“Our change model was developed in 2012. Key stakeholders were involved in shaping it, contributing years of knowledge and experience. Our shared purpose is at the heart – surrounded by systemic components – leadership, system drivers etc. It wasn’t quite working as we had expected – some loved it, others were put off by some of the language. Too conceptual. The purpose of the refresh was to strengthen, build, ensure it was fit for purpose. Encapsulating the whole of the health care system; eg mental health care, care homes. Wasn’t being used by all services”

How to do a Hackathon?

Provide online hack packs, bring in diverse people, other stakeholders – (theirs included the army, police – other non NHS valued stakeholders), pay attention to event planning, and pay attention to capturing insights from outside the room.  They wanted as many inputs from as many people as possible – so they invited 200 people to comment on change model through survey monkey, and interviews.  They asked a very broad question “What do you think of change?”.

The hack question was formulated “What do you think of the NHS change model? ”  Hack packs were provided with lots of preparatory information.  Tips:

Use – for many different purposes.
Knowledge  – the more people know the more they find it useful, easy accessible information –  practical application is required
Language – language can be inhibiting so be clear

80 people in the hack had a clear remit. The risk? – 80 people  – what would they come up with.  It meant – giving up control! Don’t know the output.

They changed from talking about the change model to “change space”.  They’re now creating a more of a hub which includes the change model.  They’re building a community around change within the hug, and are providing a range of resources, eg videos, that can be used by any user..

They are still exploring nomenclature (what do we call our change model?); there is lots of work to do; Zoe’s reflection is that they are always going to be building.

Zoe’s learning:

Outputs – more than we imagined
You can’t second guess
Let go of control – can’t edit the crowd!
Frame and reframe – make it accessible
Balance between divergence and convergence
Scope in and out of scope
People – diversity in the room – fantastic
Unconference – people were able to contribute where they wanted
Trust the process – both us and participants.
Go with the flow – for the facilitators too.

“And now – everyone wants to do it! An explosion – everyone wants to know how to do it. Such good results in a short period of time.”

Everyone can join the next hack – please see the link below.

NHS Transformathon
http://theedge.nhsiq.nhs.uk/transformathon 27-28 January 2016 – we can all join in.

Q&A from the audience:
Q How long did it take to frame the right question for the Hackathon?
A It took ages, thinking time, collaboration, testing it out.

Q Have you run any data/tracked the ideas and what percentage have made it to fruition?
A No concrete data, but the Hackathon we need to think about how we capture in the future. We have taken the majority.

Q what was required administratively to main to design the crowdsourcing initiative?
A One person – small team.

Q from conception to enabling – what does this mean?
A The change model seen as a concept, our work was about making it practical to apply.

Making sure there’s a plan for how to share the outputs; then will go back to the crowd – with more ideas, and more concepts, then on a platform – accessible to anybody.

Q More demand for Hackathons – how are you meeting this?
A Thinking about virtual Hackathons; face to face works – will be writing things up, creating tool kits.

Q Do you have a sponsor for each hack?
A Helen Bevan and her team; local trusts CEO is involved.

Zoe has shared her slides via slideshare here.