The Do Good Better list - 4 things I've loved this week

Ok, to start with, an apology. There was no blog post last week. It was neither my birthday nor a family holiday this time.

I was just too busy. Great for me. Terrible for my website analytics.

But after two days working between 9 and 12 hours, something had to give. Unfortunately it was my thoughts on the things that inspired and interested me last week.

But this week, I’ve had a bit more time to think about things that have caught my attention or made me think.

1. Good things happen, when good people make them happen

In my last permanent job, I used to attend bi-monthly trustee board meetings. At the beginning of each board, the chair would always ask an ice-breaker question, where each attendee would say a bit about themselves. It was a nice light moment before delving into the Governance Risk Register.

I remember one of these questions that really got me thinking. It was “if you were a city, which city would you be?”

I immediately responded: Berlin.

Why? For me, it’s a city where creativity, beauty, and innovation have thrived out of chaos. I like to think that this encapsulates my approach to comms. I love inheriting challenging, sometimes messy situations, and creating order, and the environment within which creativity can happen.

Another reason I love Berlin so much, is that its world renowned reputation for music, artistry and creativity happened entirely organically; through people being passionate, making stuff happen, and not waiting for permission.

This is a common theme in all art and music I love. I’ve always been attracted to the “DIY” ethic, and find that when things happen organically, and because of passionate people pushing them forward, that’s when great, life changing things and ideas start.

Believe it or not; there is a link to this idea, from a multi-agency IT implementation project, that I’m helping to support at the moment. Bear with me…

As I’ve mentioned before, in spite of the public idea of “the NHS”, we know that the reality is very different on the ground. We’re talking about hundreds of individual organisations, with thousands of staff, different cultures and ways of doing things, not to mention hundreds of individually procured IT infrastructures. Bringing them all together into a single record is a logistical nightmare.

But bring them together we must, if our NHS organisations are going to provide the level of care that patients expect in 2018 and beyond.

I’m working to support a project team with some patient consultation and comms to bring in a joint patient record and portal into a trial period across a region. I attended a great planning session with the project team this week; and what’s clear is that, these implementations can only happen when sponsors in particular hospitals get behind them.

Yes there is funding, and expectations of delivery, but the fact is that in the fragmented nature of the NHS, these things only really happen when particularly passionate clinicians and IT people really own them and drive them forward.

I also spent time this week at an away day with my long standing client working in applied health research in Greater Manchester; and again I was really inspired by how individual academics and researchers have challenged conventional wisdom to seek evidence for improving care and services for patients.

New ideas are inconvenient, and change long established ways of working. So embarking on such projects aren’t for everyone. But it’s those that embrace the opportunities for change that will make things better for everyone in the long run.

I’m always inspired by working with people that embrace and lead change from the front.

I love working with people seeking to improve people’s lives, in ways that are more effective, efficient and impactful.

In other words, people that are doing good, better; and doing it for themselves.

2. Busy, busy, busy, busy…

It’s been a fantastic couple of weeks. I’ve been delivering a lot of outputs for clients I love working with; and have started a fantastic couple of projects.

We’re at the time of year where things need to be either finished, or started (as for a lot of organisations, very little gets decided or progressed over Christmas).

And there seems to be a lot of opportunities out there too.

It involves long hours, late nights, and a lot of time on trains and stuck in traffic on the M6. But it’s exhilarating, and really satisfying.

3. Blog post of the week

I did get chance to read some excellent blog posts and articles this week though.

And the best of the bunch for my money, is inspiration can come from the most unlikely places, by the brilliant Darren Caveney.

I’m not a huge boxing fan myself, so it was a bit of an education reading the post. But the main crux of Darren’s post is how, in spite of Tyson Fury’s, shall we say, controversial previous statements, his emergence as an honest advocate for mental health and homelessness charities, and the philosophical way he handled his recent defeat on points is an unexpected source of inspiration.

I think this is a really interesting. Has Fury undergone a Damasene conversion? Does he renounce his previous statements? Or is it possible to admire someone’s current behaviour in spite of their past?

Whatever your view, it’s a really interesting read.

4. UnAwards Day

Friday 7th December is UnAwards Day, and I can’t wait.

Unfortunately, I haven’t made the shortlist (but thanks anyway if you voted for me!) but I’m involved in another way this year, in that I’ve been helping the aforementioned Darren with the playlist for the walk up music.

If you’re going, see if you can spot the theme in the music (there might be a prize if you can).

It’s the best day of the Comms calendar, and I’m really looking forward to seeing the whole community.

See you in Birmingham.