Transformational change – through vibrant, inclusive collaborative projects! #MatExp

The 26th Annual IHI National Forum on Quality Improvement in Health Care took place in Orlando, Florida last week: the largest such conference in the world – #IHI26forum. I was not there but sometimes I felt as if I were (apart from the sunshine!) as I found it compelling. I followed it closely; indeed at one point I was listed by @Symplur as among the top influencers, once again showing the power of Twitter and building global networks. 😉

But that somewhat ephemeral moment of glory is not the point of this blog.

It is to give an update on our #MatExp project, using Whose Shoes? tools, with new co-produced scenarios, to explore what needs to change to deliver person-centred maternity services.

Working in partnership with the London Strategic Clinical Network, and supported by NHS England, we are very excited to be putting into action some of the ‘new power’ principles receiving huge interest at the IHI conference.

A couple of  specific  examples from the highly topical work of Helen Bevan (@HelenBevan) and the NHS IQ ‘Horizons’ team are relevant to the collaborative and inclusive way in which we are working. Internationally renowned (including a global award) as one of the REAL top influencers in global health care, Helen is a great curator and sharer of innovative approaches.

I loved this recent ‘Top 10 tips’ from Claire Cater, Founder, The Social Kinetic, particularly this quote about needing to engage people before real change is possible:

“Planning for sustainable change in today’s world means turning traditional thinking on its head. The successful leaders of today and tomorrow will begin their transformation programmes with engagement and they will be bold enough to let what comes out of that process shape their thinking”

But the main example I am thinking of is a tweet that went viral at the IHI conference when Helen shared Oscar Berg’s ‘Pyramid’.

It is just one slide from a really rich suite of slides about transformational thinking.

And it is this thinking that is feeding into our #MatExp project. And hopefully vice versa as it is fab ‘J*DI’ (ACT – right up at the top of the pyramid!) leaders such as Florence Wilcock, Divisional Director Specialist Services & Obstetrician at Kingston Hospital, and #MatExp Lead who are providing real-time ‘grassroots’ examples of how to inspire change that really engages both ‘users’ and professionals and makes a difference.

And helps people understand why things need to change

We are pulling people in, rather than pushing outwards.


People are spontaneously spreading the #MatExp word, such as Diane Menage who came down from the Midlands and wrote this lovely blog after our last workshop in Lewisham. I somehow think Diane will be in pole position when #MatExp comes to my home town of Coventry. 😉

And word is spreading to Scotland…

And linking in with our recent #Dementiachallengers tour of Scotland, weaving threads between different ‘conditions’ because actually we are all people, united by vulnerability.

And then it is re-tweeted by Carrie Marr, a senior health care leader in Australia. And this is how Twitter and community capacity building works!

These connections will form even more powerfully and be easier to measure now that #MatExp is an ‘official’ health care hashtag.

I had gone ahead and applied to ‘register’ the hashtag with Symplur without ‘asking permission’ because that is what #boatrockers do. There is a lot of trust in our project that we are all just working to a common goal: to improve the experience of pregnant women right through to early parenthood.

This was very timely as meanwhile Florence was taking the same approach, wacking in an application to be a ‘supported’ project in #NHSChangeDay 2015.
“Help with “skills & support necessary to create a large across the
Wow, how good would that be!!

Florence had left the ‘impact line’ blank (despite the fact she is running round Kingston Hospital chasing up all the pledges people have made) confident that we can add this information as we go. “Working out loud” (another #radicals concept).

We plan to report on early impacts in the webinar we are doing  together, now scheduled for the New Year.

Symplur and ‘official hashtags’ were new concepts for Florence so I tried to explain what this all meant and how it could help #MatExp grow.

We are also planning a national  ‘Train the Facilitator’ session – more news of that soon but the date will be 2 February.

And meanwhile, our #FabOb Florence was dealing with her vital day job – and indeed night job

Linking back to the beginning of the blog, it was brilliant to find that Helen Bevan is interested in what we are doing – particularly the embryonic plans (excuse the pun) to roll the #MatExp project out through a ‘Train the facilitators approach.’

So Twitter is helping us find like-minded people quickly and regularly – and get noticed by senior leaders in the NHS and internationally. People seem to be picking up on the energy of this project and they want to be part of it. They are seeing the potential to really make a difference in maternity services, challenging accepted wisdom about who the real ‘experts’ are and putting women and families centre stage.

We have a great team, loads of passion – and it is exciting. And the project arose directly from Florence’s #NHSChangeDay pledge to use Twitter.


Huge thanks to Kath Evans, Patient Experience Lead at NHS England, for her passion (in everything!) and fantastic support for #MatExp, including taking part in all of our pilot sessions and her thoughtful, constructive feedback and ideas about how to roll the approach out across London and the regions.


I am looking forward to speaking at the NHS Twitter conference in London in February and I expect some of these slightly unconventional methods will get a mention. 😉

Tomorrow 16 December sees the #WhoseShoes #MatExp roadshow, as it is fast becoming, moving on to West Middlesex Hospital. It will be a strange day for me – a bit like leaving the baby with an excellent childminder for the first time as this will be the first time the Maternity version of Whose Shoes? has been out of my sight.

It is all part of our ‘devolved leadership’ model, passing the baton from one hospital to the next and enabling the local team to take over and fire up their own community. My friend and colleague Anna Geyer, Director of New Possibilities, is ‘graphic recording’ all the pilot workshops and these records become the focus for real actions in response to what people have said. Indeed I am already seeing an element of healthy competition between hospitals slipping in and a lot of pride in terms of who will have the most impressive outcomes to report as we follow up the pilot stage next year.

So to fire up our colleagues in West Middlesex, a few images from the excellent workshop held recently in Lewisham, expertly led by Helen Knower, Head of Midwifery.

And a bit of virtual nagging from Florence to make sure everyone stays focused on that ‘ACT’ segment at the top of the triangle.

And the networking goes on.

And the workshop is judged to be a success.

So tomorrow, I will be like Florence watching nervously from the sidelines as I pass the baton onwards.

But not really as I know Louise Page and the fab West Middlesex team will take the baton and run with it. Good luck everyone!

This is the third in a series of blogs charting the progress of our #MatExp project, using a principle called ‘Working Out Loud’ which is similarly part of the New NHS Era. You can read Part 1 , outlining how the project started, and Part 2, outlining our first workshops. After the workshop in West Middlesex Hospital tomorrow, we have two more pilot sessions in London. We will be planning a wider roll out shortly, including a ‘Train the facilitator’ workshop in February. Please leave comments, including letting us know how you would like to be involved.

About Gill Phillips - Whose Shoes?

Passionate about personalisation in health & social care. Creator of Whose Shoes? - an imaginative approach to helping people work together to improve lives.
This entry was posted in Blogs, co-production, community engagement, compassion, health, in my shoes, Learning and development, maternity, personalisation, well-being and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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