Useful things from the NCVO annual conference Evolve 2015

Posted on 15th June 2015 by

We’ve been spending the time providing a social media surgery at #evolve2015 –  we get to charities and voluntary organisations use social media and open data bit better and in return meet fab people and learn good stuff.  Here are some of the things I found through wandering and conversations… that interest me…

Circle  Central.   My unstoppable mum is involved in a wellbeing group of “older” women where she lives. They meet up and organise to do things to keep all of them moving, involved, interested/active.  This http://www.circlecentral.com/  is a sort of paid for approach to the same thing.  Not quite caught fire but interesting none the less.  For a working example go here: http://rochdalecircle.org/become_a_helper.php


Open data can fry your brain(s).  We’ve been learning how to introduce some open data skills into the social media surgery network thanks to support from the Cabinet Office.  Frankly we’ve been keeping it simple, helping organisations use data tools or open data sets for problems they need to solve – and then sharing what we did together at www.bevocal.org and also at blog.socialmediasurgery.com.  One conversation reminded me of what we try to do at the social media surgeries – which is stay sensitive to someone’s experience, skill and tolerance.  It’s the same as not trying to force someone to drive round a three lane roundabout when so far they only managed to get into third gear in a car park.

Data Visualisation:  https://www.silk.co/   Google fusion tables, but more visual, for data visualisation

Mentoring and Befriending Foundation now part of the NCVO.

Keeping people with learning difficulties safer online –  I had a fab conversation with Tim Davies from Camp Hill Milton Keynes.   They are focussing on refining how they use social media both to promote their residential and support work and the theatre they run.  Paul Webster mentioned this from the Foundation for People with Learning disabilities  – as a resource on stayong safer online – i like it for it’s cealr visual layout.  http://www.learningdisabilities.org.uk/publications/safeonline/

It turns out that Gill from the brilliant tool @whooseshoes may have benefited from what we do…


Tips on micro-volunteering can be found here  http://knowhownonprofit.org/how-to/how-to-engage-people-into-microvolunteering.



Funding and support for young people to develop digital business or digital skills

Posted on 16th October 2014 by

iDEA is a funding programme/competition to help young people develop either their digital skills or their digital business ideas, or both.  It’s supported by the Nominet Trust (a charity we’ve worked with before at Podnosh and had a fantastic experience) with the backing of the Duke of York.   They say:

Entrants will gain essential digital enterprise and entrepreneurial skills through the competition and can further develop these skills through our online library of industry endorsed badges. The three winning business ideas in the competition will be awarded £15,000 funding and accelerator support for further development. The project aims to recruit 10,000 young people into the competition in the next few weeks

Schools can get involved – and indeed are very welcome to use it as a way to develop digital skills.  If you’re eligible or curious get stuck in.

Go here to find out more:  www.onemillionyoungideas.org.uk/.

I first published this on the Birmingham Smart City site.

#nhscitizen and local involvement – Birmingham session, some thoughts.

Posted on 3rd October 2014 by
NHS Citizen information flow

NHS Citizen information flow

This week NHS England has been in Birmingham picking many brains to try and understand how their #nhscitizen idea might work best at a local level.   Overnight I chewed over the things below but for context.  NHS Citizen is an attempt to encourage people to voice their experience and ideas about health care and for the NHS England board and other levels of the NHS to learn how to join, listen to and use that conversation.  It’s not a concrete thing at the moment and this video gives a sense of it…

Below are some of my slightly generic thoughts on what this might need to be like…

Is it a problem that this is about citizens talking to NHS England only, after all health and social care are experienced the same.

Err towards Solutions focus (not problems focus)

Focus not just on problems but experiments and solutions.   A process that channels problems up will not shift the way we deliver good or better health to each  other.  One that frames problems partly through things people have done to try and solve them will create:

  • a tone that encourages those at  the top to use (rather than avoid) the discussion and information.
  • a source of inspiration for people (citizens) and practitioners (also citizens) which includes new ways of fixing/doing things
  • room for those who act very differently from prevailing structures to share why they think what they do makes things better and then go an make things change.
  • a chance to celebrate people who act to make things better.

Use people’s stories to inspire fixes

When you make thing personal you want to solve it.  At the personal level solutions can be more practical than at a systemic level.

Don’t wait for change: 

Some traditional structures says tell us your problems and we’ll come back with our solution or reason why we can’t solve it.  that involves waiting for change.  If you send a problem to the top and wait for change until permission comes back it stifles innovation.  NHS Citizen should be able to track innovation, solutions and change – the board can learn faster from that and it will help shift the culture from what Steve FairmanHelen Bevan and other’s have described as a focus on the “disruptive troublemakers” in their paper on NHS culture change.

We are all citizens

So enjoy being one – whether the NHS pays you or not.

Don’t be an institution. 

The problem of being both a thing and not a thing.  Anthony Zacharzewski was quoted as saying “there will never be a chief executive of NHS Citizen”  and yet we still tend to think of things as things.  This is more like the internet –  few people ask who is head of the internet. yet we use it and trust it, accepting it as a platform we can shape.

To understand NHS Citizens more:

Watch the live stream of the discussions

Keep track of the development at http://www.nhscitizen.org.uk/

The four organisations managing the NHS Citizen design process: The Tavistock InstituteInvolveThe Democratic Society and Public-i.

Declaration – we are currently working with NHS-Improving Quality plus a number of Clinical Comissioning Groups and a Clinical Support Unit and have/do work with Demsoc and Public-i