Fantasy Party Planning


Abracadabra

Abracadabra – I magic my own party!

I met some wonderful people this week. On weeks like this my job rocks; the chance to meet some really fantastic people who enrich my thinking and make life fun.

 

On the long journey home I was thinking about what it would be like if I could just put some of them in a room together what magic might happen! It was like one of those personal ‘dead or alive’ dinner party discussions – who would you select? But more importantly what could we achieve?

So, this blog is going to list some people who I would love to put in a room together to party! So how did I select my list? Each person has a set of unique super powers. Every single one of them I would think having coffee with them was a highlight of a day and finally I would just love to see what they would do if they were given a collective challenge.

The list order is alphabetically deliberately; there is no priority order and I know I will have missed some people, forgive me. Lists are written at a moment in time.

Here are where my party initiations are headed:

envelopeDeborah El-Sayed @Debselsayedd – Debs is someone to dream with. When we discuss ideas and make plans our conversations go to the most unexpected places. She’s is fun too and her parties are always the best ones, creative and expansive, in exactly the same way she thinks. She also makes things happen.

Emma Bearman @emmambearman – Emma is wonderful. I have never met anyone like her before. She is like a warrior, someone who gives part of her soul for her work on play in Leeds. Her passion is practically palpable and she would keep the party going with her energy (and play).

Hany Rizk @RizkHany – I went to a UX conference this week and his presentation blew me away. Hany is selected for his ability to make me think differently. I suspect he is also an ace UX designer. By the way he is also a super cool and from the Lebanon*. I think he brings values too.

Heather Henry @heatherhenry4 – this nurse is a super hero, who has taught me so much about asset based community development but she is also so determined and focussed. I use the story of Salford Dads and pub nursing as ways to describe an alternative way. Heather rocks.

Jenni Middleton @nursingtimesed – all parties need someone who can communicate with insight, wisdom, style and flair and that is what Jenni can do. Unusual for me to chose a journalist but Jenni is a real pro and she also has great style. All parties need someone with style!

Lance Gardner @LanceAACltd – selected for his creativity and his clear focus and insights into doing the right thing, the right way. No half-way measures for Lance, if it’s not done right he doesn’t do it. He’s also a trail blazer. Lance has a non-flashy way of working that I really admire.

Linda Whalley – Linda is a colleague. She is a great thinker and worth having alongside you but she is also one of the wittiest people ever. She has a way of seeing situations and people that is unique, wise and funny.

Lindsey Fallow @betabetic – what a treat Lindsey is to know. I don’t know anyone else quite like her. She is clever, wise, unafraid and has a groundedness about her that makes me feel safe. I don’t know anyone who has so many life challenges who remains so positive and un-beaten. She is just incredible.

Mark Davies @markpricedavies – ah Dr Mark. One of my favorite doctors. Mark is fun to be with but he is also a good person to think with, he will bring new ideas that others haven’t thought of. He also has a fearlessness about his persona, a non-traditionalist.

Mary Dixon-Woods @marydixonwoods – I’ve never met Mary (I would love too) but every party needs a professor and researcher and Mary is the one I admire most. She, too, is someone who is pushing boundaries and looking at things in new ways. I used one of her emergent research approaches in my MSc and my tutor thought I was being a bit alternative – which I consider to be an admirable thing! I will maybe meet her in real life one day.

Maxine Craig @maxine_craig – Maxine understands people like no one else I know. A deep meaningful insight into people and organisations wrapped in a beautiful soul. She is also so restful to spend time with! She will keep the party grounded and well.

Pete Thomond @petethomond – Pete is very special. I love the way he thinks – there are no blocks and barriers in Pete’s mind and his conversations reflect that. I guarantee at the party he would be an ideas generator, someone who asked interesting questions and could see the connections between ideas and concepts.

Rachael Dunscombe @UKpenguin – Rachael is in theory an IT person but when I look and see her that’s not what I see! I see someone who has so much insight into a wide range of things, not for her just pure IT but real breadth and depth! A linker of things…. Someone who I want to meet more in future.

Rob Webster @NHS_robW – Rob for me represents values. He is clear about his and would make certain we were clear about ours. He is also wise; his life and work have made him so.

Roz Davies @roz_davies – Roz is a very beautiful person. I don’t know anyone else who so consistently lives the values they express. She is someone who it’s cool to hang out with to explore values and find deeper meaning. Never under estimate her!

Simon Norris @simon_Norris – Simon is a creative if ever I knew one. His optimism is what strikes me though and his values. You would be surprised about where conversations with Simon go. Another value driven person. I love great UX designers too, they are the ones that bring IT alive for people.

Steve Wheeler @timbuckteeth – I don’t know anyone else like Steve. An academic but he is uber cool and another thinker. He is also a rebel I think. I admire rebels with values. They make me feel braver.

Susan Hamer @dollyblue3 – selected for her determination but also her incisive brain. She knows the right thing to do and does it regardless of what people think. She can be out-spoken but you will need to be at this particular party! She will help you to take an idea apart and work out what to do and bring evidence into play.

Teri Porritt @gbtpo – Teri is unstoppable. She is values driven and has so many facets to her professional persona. Peel away the layers and you will find many beautiful things that she brings to the party. Energy is the most obvious one, but you will also find a photographer inside!

Victoria Betton @victoriabetton – Victoria is another creative soul but one who can do serious business. She takes ideas and just makes them happen, like magic. Another values driven person who takes risks and walks the walk.

So how will this party go? I have no idea! But it won’t be boring that’s for sure! What ideas would we create and solutions could we find? What would we make happen?

I’ve no idea but I know that each one of these people brings gifts to my fantasy party. In writing my list I realised that there are some common themes: values, passion and the ability to think with me, play out through thinking – thought expanders.

I am grateful that all of these people have played some sort of role in my life from making me think differently to making me laugh out loud! Now let’s get on with this party!

Anne

47426673 - superhero kid at home. christmas holiday concept

Post Script: Writing this I kept on thinking of other people I couldn’t miss off (I am sorry if you are one! You will all know who you are I hope) and it was a great exercise in making me feel incredibly lucky.

*Correction:  I had originally thought Hany was from Germany but he is actually from the Lebanon – sorry Hany!

 

 

 

‘Don’t think of all the misery, but of the beauty that still remains’


Anne FrankFor me it feels like it has been a dark couple of weeks. Looking with optimism has led me to look more closely at family, nature and good friends. I think, however, Anne Frank was a wise young woman when she said “I don’t think of all the misery, but of the beauty that still remains’ (The Diary of a Young Girl).

Acting on these words, this blog is dedicated to all those who continue to inspire me and give me hope. What do I mean when I say ‘inspires’?  This is my personal list of reasons people might inspire me:

  • Passion – they are themselves inspired
  • Tenacity – in the face of adversity
  • Imagination – They engage my imagination
  • Optimistic – They make me feel optimistic
  • Togetherness – They make me want to join in
  • Purpose – They work on things that I think matter
  • Moral compass – they have a clear moral compass that they operate from

The list below is not an exhaustive list – there are many people who inspire me  – these were the first examples that came tumbling out:

nightscout

Night Scout – #wearenotwaiting @nightscout

I find the story of Night Scout inspiring because it took the tenacity and togetherness of a group of parents whose children have T1 Diabetes to do this. Can you imagine being told that your child has a serious, potentially life threatening condition? Wouldn’t you want to do as much as you could to help them to secure a healthy and fulfilling life? That’s exactly how I think the parents who set up the Night Scout Foundation must have felt and the system just couldn’t keep up with them.  Waiting for technical solutions that might help takes an age in health systems, decades sometimes. This group of parents decided that #wearenotwaiting and have gone on to develop some technical systems that help the monitoring of blood glucose for children despite of the system. I love their slogan ‘Be Impatient’. I love that they used their collective skills and did it anyway, despite being told, I suspect, they shouldn’t.

Read more about the Night Scout Foundation

The power of community and the drive of wanting to make things better is inspiring.

The Hen Power Project – @equal_arts

Sometimes things are so simple they have a beauty that comes from that very simplicity.  We know that social isolation and loneliness can lead to poor health

Dealing with loneliness is a complex social issue, as my personal experience tells me. This is why I think the Hen Power project is so inspiring. It is creative and optimistic and make me want to join in and indeed one day I might!

The Hen Power project is a project from Equal Arts, a charity in the North East of England. They work with some of the most disadvantaged people who are in their older years.

‘Our work focuses on giving people the opportunity to explore their imagination and live in the moment.’

I defy you to watch this video and not feel inspired!

We Nurses – @agencynurse

wenursesMany of you will know some of the story behind ‘We Nurses’ but I think I am lucky enough to know most of it. I believe Teresa Chinn is the key reason for their success – what is it that so inspires me about Teresa? It is her values. She is focused on community, sharing and collective value, sometimes at her own personal cost. I think she has a clear moral compass that is inherently the reason why We Communities continues to thrive.

Dr Sue Black – @dr_black

SAVINGBLETCHLEYPARKSue inspires me being a feisty and passionate woman. I remember meeting her in London and being inspired by her story about Tech Mums. But not only that then she helps to save Bletchley Park. I won’t try to replay her story here, Sue tells it so much better than me, you can read most of it from her blog.

Sue is a great example of someone with tenacity and determination to do what she thinks matters.

 

Playbox Leeds @emmabearman

tiles

A sample of the lovely tiles the Playbox team created with the community to improve the benches in the park

A shipping container and a whole lot of courage, inspiration and belief in her community is what it took, I suspect, for Emma Bearman to set up Playbox. In an area of Leeds that is less well known than its city centre cousins, Armley now has a great focus for people and play. Emma is like a force of nature and I admire her passion but also how well her projects encourage people to join in. Watching the development of Playbox has been great to see and is a great antidote to much of what the media would lead us to believe was our current society and communities.

 

You can read more about Playbox here and follow Emma on Twitter to be inspired.

Michael Seres @MJSeres

MichaelMichael is another force of nature. I have been following him for quite a number of years now and have been lucky enough to meet him. I won’t try to tell his story here as you can listen for yourself here as part of the Spark the Difference Exhibition (there are also many other stories here that will inspire)

Michael is one of the humblest men I have met but his particular inspiring skill for me is, that despite the odds, he has an air of optimism and hope which makes me feel that things will work out and that all is possible.

This list is not exhaustive by any means and I may write about more people in due course but what inspires each of us seems to be more poignant and potent in darker times than perhaps when the sun shines perfectly down. I hope they help you feel inspired too.

Who and what  inspires you?

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Starting something new


imageI am starting a new job – there, I said it ‘out-loud’. I have been a bit worried about writing it down as I thought it might jeopardise it, as this is one move I really wanted to make, to do something where I hope I can make a difference. I also know I am nearing the last leg of my ‘formal’ career – I know I won’t stop doing ‘something’ but I suspect what that is might be very different 5 years from now.  I can also see that moving from a relatively high profile role to a local one might have its own teething pains too.  How can I change how I behave to reflect where I will live?

Most of the moves I have made in the last decade have been an evolution of where I was, a natural progression, easy in the simple growth of thinking and skills. This time it’s different. I’m moving to a community provider and trying to use all my new thinking and skills in a completely different way.

I am aware that in the last 5 years I have behaved as an instinctive manager and leader and perhaps have thrown in a little bit of organisational development as I have gone along. I have done OK, feedback has been generally positive, but I really want to develop more – that will require effort on my part.

ambitionSo I start my new role with some anxiety; I’m setting high standards for myself. I also know that, to do what I want to do I need to move into spaces that will be less than comfortable and may be lonely. I have written before about PWI (perceived weirdness index) and how being different can affect change; I also think that occupying a more neutral space allows others to lead, if you help to shed the light, rather than being the light.

So I have been thinking about my personal ambitions for the next couple of years and here are my first thoughts:

  • Organisations are complex and dynamic and are powered by humans – I will respect the unique nature of the organisation I work in and those people who make it the way it is;
  • I will endeavour to support others and create environments where people can give their best;
  • I will use my natural ability to see links and connections – I will support others through acting as a navigator rather than driver, shedding light on the paths available rather than choosing the path – ‘doing with’ not ‘doing to’;
  • I will work hard at developing others in the organisation and avoid dependency on me;
  • I will throw light on unmentionables and take difficult conversations out of the shadows by acting with honesty and integrity;
  • I will value conversation over process;
  • I will be opportunistic and work with the power of others to support change;
  • I will continuously reflect and learn;
  • I will draw others to the power of communities in action and in doing so support changes to practice;
  • I will operate from a position of expert rather than that of manager and in doing so act as a guide rather than through exercising managerial power;
  • I will respect partnerships with citizens/patients as a principle;
  • I will keep a relentless focus on citizens/patients/service users; the quality of what we do and how they experience it.

I think this is a challenging list. I will see how I go. You might too as I will blog about some of these things as I go along.

Is there anything I should have included on my list that I have missed?

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Social media – connecting with purpose


I’m pretty much a Twitter addict; of late, however, it’s been feeling a bit less comfy, as if the life has gone out of it somehow.

But something interesting happened that has heartened me about the role of social media to do good. I’ve had the joy of watching Facebook possibly be the best that it can be.

Two things have made me think this:

Hebden Bridge floods

Photo by Steven Lilley – Flickr. Thanks!

 

On Boxing Day 2015 the Calder Valley, in the north of England, only a few miles upstream from the town where I live, experienced devastating floods for the second time in less than three years. Because my own town had some flooding, and I’m on some hyper local Facebook sites, I found myself on the Calder Valley Flood group. It made me cry; watching all the wonderful people of the beautiful area asking for help. But what I also witnessed was something truly remarkable: a powerful community in action. The whole community and beyond responded in ways I would never have predicted. People came offering whatever they could to help; labour, cleaning materials, food, hot drinks. Pretty soon after local tradespeople starting giving too. It didn’t seem to matter whether they too had had their homes or businesses devastated, everyone seemed to have something to give. The gift economy at its best.

If you want to see that community in action seek out the public site. It is still in place weeks after the events of Boxing Day and they continue to raise money and take positive steps to get those towns back on their feet.

The way the community of Calder Valley supported each other seemed to me to have the infrastructure of a strong social media network helping it to communicate and spread, although of course it was the community itself that did this. There were a very small team of community voluntary administrators on the Facebook site – I think they did an incredible job.

Flood signIt was lively, helpful and the presence of that small group of people felt like it was there 24/7.  Some corporate sites would do well to look at the standards they achieved.  It was never belittling or bemoaning; it was positive constructive and consistent. I applaud the skill and dedication of the small and beautifully formed team of dedicated people behind that Facebook site. They even coordinated wish lists on Amazon so people who lived some distances away could also help in a concrete, practical way. I was very impressed and in awe – that takes skill, time and just a dogged determination. When I talk to professionals about using social media they could do worse than to have a look at those sites. Of course there is some negative stuff but the site was run with such skill and community engagement that the positive drowned out the negative.

midlandThe second thing I watched was how Facebook connected a group of people from the past. Many years ago I worked for what was then the Midland Bank. A friend who I have known since school also worked there and he invited me to join a group called ‘Midland Bank Oldies’.   It was brilliant!  The site exploded into life – within a few days the membership of the group (a closed site) had expanded to more than 7000. Everyone was chatting away, reminiscing and reconnecting. It’s the liveliest and most positive site connection I have ever seen.

Then, one day it disappeared. I don’t know why but the person who had set the site up dismantled it. I suspect it might have been a bit overwhelming but rather than just opening it up and letting the community take its course, in the height of it all, it just wasn’t there.

These two experiences have made me reflect a lot about social media for purpose. Without a doubt people were key too. It doesn’t actually matter which platform you use but your purpose and whether you are prepared for what might happen do matter. You can’t predict how social media communities will go.

In a paper about networks in healthcare by the Health Foundation they recognise five areas that determine the success of a network and I think these two examples show how important these are:

  • common purpose
  • cooperative structure
  • critical mass
  • collective intelligence
  • community building

What they don’t identify is the hard work networks are to keep warm and alive and the personal commitment people need to give. For me my learning was; its about purpose but it’s also about the people.

If you would like to make a contribution to the Calderdale Floods appeal you can do so here – if you don’t know the Calder Valley it’s a very beautiful valley in West Yorkshire that also happens to be the location for the BBC  ‘Happy Valley’ mini series starring Sarah Lancashire – very much worth a watch :0)

Hebden bridge

 

Practicing what I preach – role modelling and social media


This blog is a bit of an experiment :0)

lead by exampleDespite not really setting out with any grand intentions in mind, I was identified as a Social Pioneer by the Nursing Times in 2014, mainly for both my promotion of engagement with people with long-term conditions on Social Media but also for my work with professionals in encouraging and role modelling.

I believe that in a modern society nurses should be digitally competent and have a high level of digital professionalism in order to:

‘uphold the reputation of your profession at all times. You should display a personal commitment to the standards of practice and behaviour set out in the Code. You should be a model of integrity and leadership for others to aspire to. This should lead to trust and confidence in the profession from patients, people receiving care, other healthcare professionals and the public.’ (Extract from the Code, NMC 2015)

I try hard to do this at all times and aspire to role model digital behaviours. Here are some examples of how I try to do this:

  • I work hard at holding professional conversations at the same time as maintaining a balance of being human and authentic.
  • I try to help others if they seem to be struggling.
  • I add value through adding content and materials that further nursing.
  • I share my knowledge of social media and have worked with NHSIQ to produce a simple film for practitioners – see here.

As part of my nursing revalidation I need to collect feedback about my practice.

It would be really brilliant if you could leave a comment for me below that I can use to further reflect for my professional portfolio!

Constructive feedback from anyone is welcomed, not just other nurses. Feedback from patients and students is particularly welcomed.

anniecoops

Thank you so much xxx

Thank you so much xxx

#5things


Anne 1986A good friend and colleague, Dr Mark Davies, blogged this week and set me thinking. His blog was his reflections on leaving general practice having been a GP for 21 years; what things had he wished he had known at the start of that journey. This blog is my attempt to guide 19 year old Anne on her journey and career in nursing that started on 31st January 1983 – what #5things would I like to tell myself.

They are not listed in any particular order:

  1.    Put your hand up

It took me a while to learn this but I did get it in the end – when there are jobs to be done, projects to develop and deliver – put your hand up. It doesn’t matter what the project is really and in many ways the projects that no one else really wants to do have been the most rewarding. I learnt slowly that my nursing career was often enriched by un-expected things. I think the point where I really got it was when I became fascinated by complaints from patients and their friends and families. I didn’t think what we did with these precious letters was right, so I set about looking into the process as a project for a management course. I ended up telling the Chief Executive that the organisation should have a complaints manager and that should be me. He offered me the job and I never looked back – it was one of the best opportunities I have ever had to really understand the experience of patients.

Never fail to volunteer – you are unlikely to regret it.

2.     We never know the impact of what we doward sister

I remember once meeting a nurse on a platform at a local station. She knew me but I didn’t know her. She approached me and told me that she had been a student on the ward where I had been a ward sister many many, years ago. I, sadly, couldn’t remember her. She went on to tell me how that ward experience had been fundamental to the choices she went on to make in her nursing career.

I think it’s scary to think that people watch us all the time and we may make an indelible mark on their lives. Patients will remember if we were kind, or not. Relatives will remember if we were helpful and smiled. Students will remember if we were patient and supportive.

Being watched all the time can be a burden but it can also be a fantastic opportunity to make a real difference.

Hold that thought in your head in everything you do.

3.     The importance of rehabilitation

My Grandad who had COPD and always wanted to do as much as he could including walking Trixie

My Grandad who had COPD and always wanted to do as much as he could including walking Trixie

I learnt this far too late in my career, I wish I had known it 30 years ago – the importance of rehabilitation and letting the patient set their own targets.

I have worked in acute settings for nearly all my hospital career. I was always in settings where we were dealing with the most acute type of medicine; chest pain and respiratory failure in the main. Looking back it strikes me that we had a ‘fix them up’ attitude and ‘get them home’.

More lately I have spent a small amount of time working with a fabulous advanced nurse practitioner in elderly rehabilitation and I learnt so much.

The most powerful thing was asking an elderly patient ‘What’s the best that you think you can be?’ then working with them on helping them achieve their goal.

I believe that we should have patient driven care – the phrase patient centred care no longer satisfies me.

My learning – how can we support people to take as much control as they feel able to take and achieve their own goals?

4.        Politics (small p) is not a dirty business

When I was a fresh faced staff nurse I didn’t believe I needed to understand or get involved in politics, but I was wrong. Over time I came to realise that power and politics go hand in hand and even if you don’t want to dabble in the Machiavellian arts you need to understand them.  It’s naïve to think that you can get difficult things done unless you understand where the power is and how it all works. I still think it would be simpler not to need to understand these things but I now know that that is unrealistic.

Get to know where the power lies and how the system really works if you want to do things for good.

5.        Love yourself and be kind to yourselfkindness

Like many people there is no one harder on me than me. I drive myself hard, I take on too much and I hate it when I do something that hurts someone or is tactless; beating myself up through sleepless nights and tears is not unknown.

But I have learnt that no-one is perfect and that I know I am essentially a good person and although I still find it hard I can forgive myself more readily.

I have learnt to love myself a little and try harder to be kind to myself.

#5things I wish I had known. I am sure there are more and these are the things that came into my head today – I am sure my learning is not done yet!

never stop learning

People Drive Digital Reflections


networkI have been to NHS EXPO today. As always it was great to meet lots of people I have met and worked with over a number of years; I love seeing them, giving them a hug and re-connecting with them (you all know who you are). It is one of the privileges of my working life that I have met so many fabulous people.

Today was interesting for me as I didn’t go to EXPO in my professional capacity but in a personal one, as someone who has an interest in digital innovation but from the perspective of a citizen and patient and today felt very different – but is it EXPO that has changed or me?

PDDigitalToday I briefly presented with Victoria Betton and Mark Brown the work we have done on People Driven Digital and the PDD Awards (HT to the others too Michael Seres, Kat McComack). I realised that I had changed from a year ago.

I spent many years as a nurse giving patients advice and information. We thought it was the right thing to do and of course it is but it’s also paternalistic, based on the assumption that ‘we’ know and ‘they’ don’t.

Over the last year my experiences of working in collaboration with other people like my fellow collaborators for #PDDigital, and many others in my social network with Diabetes, has made me realise that the system doesn’t know what problems people face as intimately as they do. We can make assumptions, we can guess and in doing so we may well get it wrong; we may hit the target and miss the point. Mark spoke eloquently today (you can read what he said here http://thenewmentalhealth.org/?p=182 and it’s well worth a read) about focussing on trying to find digital solutions to those issues that really matter to people, not necessarily the big things but those that in people’s lives make a real difference. You can see our presentation here

So today, whilst I wandered around EXPO, I reflected on what felt ‘real’ and what maybe mattered the most. There was little evidence of people driving solutions and creating ideas and I realised I had changed. I have come to realise that unless we engage at the start with the citizens, we are unlikely to make the differences we need to make. We might create elaborate solutions but may completely miss the point. We need People Driven Digital Innovation.

pump openerI have an example: I was a grateful receiver of a new insulin pump a few months ago. It has a snazzy screen and some new functionality that means if you are a user of a continuous glucose monitor (I am not funded to be one) then it will switch off the delivery of insulin if your blood glucose goes too low – very clever indeed. But what was it that delighted me when I collected my pump? On my old pump, in order to access the battery to replace it (yes insulin pump are powered by a traditional AA battery!!) I had to carry a 20p coin in my bag. It’s the only reliable way to be able to open the battery space – it’s tricky but fairly crucial to be able to get in! On my new pump there is a removable clip that had a snazzy little device on the end that enables you to open the battery space. A simple remoulding of the clip – inexpensive and functional – I know, I know, so simple – but it was the snazzy solution for the battery opener that delighted me. A small but delightful improvement and now I don’t worry about 20p pieces. Let’s try focussing on the small things that might matter to people.

How do you think we could develop the ideas from #PDDigital? Let us know.