This guest post is by Adebusuyi Adeyemi of NHS Improving Quality.
NHS Change Day 2014 is going to be the biggest day of collective action for improvement in the history of the NHS. Are you ready? NHS Change Day 2013 was a countrywide grassroots initiative that provided an opportunity to transform anger or frustration into constructive action. This year, NHS Change Day is still a grassroots movement but is going global, to be a mass movement of NHS staff, social care providers and the public demonstrating the difference they can make by one simple act to make a change.
The NHS Change Day core leadership team have applied and adapted social movement theory, skills and practices associated with community organising and made use of social media to secure voluntary pledges from NHS staff and patients to take a specific improvement or innovation action on or around 03 March 2014.
The most significant thing we learnt from NHS Change Day last year is that change of this kind and scale is possible; the most significant impact is that tens of thousands of staff have now had the experience of taking part in collective action for change. There are rich lessons about ‘calls to action’, ‘shared values’ and ‘distributed leadership’ organisations can learn from this. Leading academics and firms have already recognised this, NHS Change Day 2013 winning the McKinsey and Havard Business Innovation prize.
NHS Change Day was an entirely voluntary effort that invited staff to take action on something that they were passionate about. It intentionally drew on shared values, and in doing so, it unlocked willing commitment to act rather than hierarchical compliance.
Putting shared values at the heart of the Change Day provides an authentic ‘call to action’ to which others with a similar outlook responded. It makes Change Day not only an opportunity to do something that would be of benefit to others, but also to express support for the NHS as an institution and the shared values that it represents.
NHS Change Day creates a sense of urgency by focusing on a single day of collective action. In many cases Change Day gives the necessary prompt to galvanise and amplify activity that may sometimes already be planned and promotes the idea of distributed leadership as it has a low threshold for participation.
The design of NHS Change Day is unique and offers interesting lessons for technology stakeholders in healthcare to take away. More often than not, technology and the internet democratizes information and can lower the threshold for participation in the management of healthcare. Technology has always been poised to solve the big healthcare issues but it can be incorporating the simple lessons of a social movement that can be enough. As healthcare becomes increasingly dependent on technology, let’s look to NHS Change Day to ensure improvement continues in the NHS. Check out changeday.nhs.uk to find out more.