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| 5 minutes read

Leading the Spread and Adoption of Innovation and Improvement: A Practical Guide - Webinar report

Thank you to the 100 people who joined the ‘Leading the Spread and Adoption of Innovation and Improvement: A Practical Guide’ webinar on 30th November. Participants joined from a wide range of organisations and several countries. The engagement and energy in the chat box was fantastic. Feedback following the webinar has been positive.

This blog aims to:

  • Provide the links to the recording and slide set of the webinar
  • Summarise the chat box comments
  • Answer questions raised that could not, due to time, be addressed in the webinar
  • Share feedback on the Guide
  • Announce the winner of the draw for a free advisory session

Links to the recording and slide set 

  • The recording of the webinar is available here.
  • The slides are available here.

What did people talk about in the chatbox?

It was good to discover that what people were looking to learn from the webinar matched well with the planned content. Many people were seeking insights on the ‘how to’ spread and adopt sustained innovation and improvements particularly wanting best practice, techniques and latest evidence. In addition, participants expressed a desire to hear how to engage and bring people along in the spread and adoption process. Other participants were primarily keen to hear more detail of the Guide and how it could help them.

The chat box was energised. Key areas raised and discussed are summarised below.

Prompted by one of the slides (image above), Ian asked "if the isolated islands are often the result of local context (and the differences between them)? How do we overcome my situation is different to yours/it can't possibly work here?" which generated many replies.

Responses included "All contexts are different. One thing I learned about working in ED. Each ED is completely different  - often from Depts within just a few miles’ ‘True. There are massive demographic differences even within close proximity. Also cultural differences and different 'readiness for change'." These comments illustrate the need for a locally developed approach to spread and adoption which can use and be informed by the seven interconnected principles.

Caroline asked "How do we lose some of the competitiveness that drives islands of excellence? we celebrate innovation, first past the post, but do we ever celebrate spread?"

Lou suggested contacting the Academy of Fab Stuff which is all about not reinventing the wheel and the 'Pinched with Pride' Award for effective and efficient use of NHS resources in sharing learning and innovation. This was a well-liked idea.

Participants shared some of the many tensions associated with spread and adoption. Julian raised that benefits can take a long time to deliver so need to be realistically time framed. 

Conversely Kristin raised the challenge of maintaining motivation and energy over long projects saying

"The initial flurry of motivation and energy is often depleted the longer it takes to see that change established in a service. Even a Duracell battery would struggle for the length of some 'projects''

Working with complexity and these many tensions requires the leadership skills and way of working described in the Guide.

The topic of ‘failure’ provided a burst of chat box activity. The initial comment "Interestingly my own experience of the private sector is that they are prepared to move on quickly from failure when change/benefits do not happen. It was refreshing at the time. We don't seem to have the same licence (understandably) with public money so need to get it right" produced many responses. "Failure isn't always a bad thing though? Worrying about failing often stifles appropriate risk taking". "Agreed - I see a lot of 'innovation' that is adopted with little value that should just stop. We need to be better at learning from experience and acknowledge its OK to stop something that doesn’t work". "Being too risk averse can prevent learning opportunities and developing new knowledge. License to try and fail is so important". "We need to be careful not to create conditions where people are too scared to try for fear of's a powerful word - definitely needs to be connected to learning". The recent report Psychological Safety in the Real World of Health and Care may be of interest.

Questions raised 

Wendy asked "I am struck by the absence of "communication" within the principles. Although this function can be embedded within the principles, why was there not more focus on enabling methods of communication for motivation and engagement et al."

Communication underpins all seven interconnected principles and the leadership activity of systems convening. The Benefit and Individual principles in particular address the importance of motivation and engagement and the practical tools section includes storytelling and public narrative. I'll review the communication content in light of the feedback.

Caroline asked "Does behaviour change theory feature in the guide? I'm struck time and again about the lack of basic understanding on this".

Behaviour change features in the Guide, in the further resources section ‘change – behaviour change model’.

What was the feedback on the Guide?

I asked participants three questions:

  • What in the Guide do you really like?
  • What else would you like included in the Guide?
  • What do you need to help you apply this Guide to your work?

What in the Guide do participants really like? 

Many liked the style and format of the Guide, being concise, clear, easy to navigate and structured for ‘bite sized’ learning. The case studies and systems convening sections were particularly popular. Also mentioned were the practical tools, definitions and the graphic of the 7 interconnected principles. 

What else would participants like included in the Guide?

Requests included sustainability, link to Improvement Olympics, community development, graphics and sketchnotes and more on communication (see above, Questions raised).

Sustainability is embedded throughout the Guide and explicitly here but will be made more explicit.

The Improvement Olympics occurred this August 2021 run by NHS Horizons. The link will be added to the Guide.

Community development with regular sharing and learning together I believe is covered by the Networks principle. Please let me know if you don’t think this is the case.

The aim is to develop resources, which will be more visual, to support the Guide so as to share the messages in a different complementary way.

What do participants need to help apply this Guide to their work?

  • Further webinars (regular but not too often, on each component, bite sized) or workshops was the most popular suggestion
  • Video clips (short, clinicians recording for non-managers)
  • Pools of slides and visuals for use, discussion and sharing
  • Further case studies
  • Avenues to build skills / capabilities, peer to peer coaching sessions, how to communicate spread, scale and sustainability.

And the winner is.....

An offer was made for the chance to win a session with me to help apply this Guide to specific work. The random draw winner is Sonal Mehta, Partnership Lead (VCSE), Bedfordshire, Luton & Milton Keynes Integrated Care System who is working to integrate the voluntary, community & social enterprise sector into the ICS. Watch out for a future blog on this work.

Thank you for such active participation. It was great to see connections being made and knowledge and experience being shared so freely.


spread and adoption