Inclusion and System Leadership Hackathons

A digital approach to address the issue of Inclusion and System Leadership in the NHS.

Inclusion, Equality and Diversity are a hot topics for the NHS, and are a priority across all healthcare agendas. Inclusion is cited in the NHS’s main values and given the diversity of the NHS workforce this has particular significance. However, recent research shows that very little progress has been made over the last 20 years to address the issue of discrimination within the NHS.

The NHS Leadership Academy wanted to address this challenge in the world of Inclusion and System Leadership as there has been a considerable lack of engagement within this area, and an honest, open conversation was needed nationally. They championed this work through the NHS North West Leadership Academy and the NHS Thames Valley and Wessex Leadership Academy, who we worked alongside to deliver this project.

To address this challenge, we created a strategic engagement plan. This involved designing an online platform to host this conversation, raise awareness and create a two way dialogue, gaining valuable feedback and recommendations to help tackle this problem collaboratively. Given our vast behavioural change experience, we know that by engaging staff in this dialogue empowers them to own the problem and create the solutions in a co-created and future focused manner.

In order to align both topics (Inclusion and System Leadership) we proposed focusing on inclusion and the ‘individual’ side of system leadership, described as ‘personal leadership impact such as improved self-awareness, understanding inclusive individual leadership capability and style’. As part of our engagement plan, we recommended that they held two strategically timed hackathon events to further explore the organisational and Systems.

To activate this engagement plan we first set about creating an online portal, which would host the resources, drive engagement and collect valuable feedback from those involved. Our web designers worked to create a user facing, effective portal that could facilitate two way engagement, whilst being informative and motivate conversations. This site was created using WordPress, an open source website creation tool, and can be viewed by clicking here.

The online resource was great to start the virtual collaboration, but we felt it was crucial to bring the conversation together through a creative ‘hackathon’ event. Put simply, a Hackathon is ‘creative problem solving’, where people come together to engage collaboratively in order to find new solutions to given a problem. As this problem spans nationwide, we planned a series of hackathon events in two locations. This first one to kick-start the strategic engagement and gather initial thoughts, and then the second set of hackathon events to really drill down to devise the solutions between a wide variety of voices engaging, both physically at the event and virtually through the online platform.

It was important to give these events a narrative and expert insights and so we worked to collaborate with key experts within the field. These professionals helped lead the conversation and discussions, both at the event and through social media.

The strategic plan resulted in a huge amount of engagement both online and at the events, with a set of key recommendations that were co-created by the delegates. The regional leadership academies were able to pull together these recommendations to create a positive, future focused report to share nationally with the NHS Leadership Academy. This report challenged the current ways of working for the NHS, in order to raise awareness and effect behavioural and system change, to make the NHS a better, more inclusive place to work.

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