Seeking the approaches that enable faster change in the complex world of health and social care
Reflecting on an excellent piece of work that I’ve been involved with recently, it highlights an important question.
This piece of work has been one of the largest pieces of collaborative solution building I’ve been involved in, proper engagement, not tokenism. Patients, front line staff, managers, commissioners, Board members, clinical staff the whole range. I have a great team to thank for this, they have done a great job. This level of engagement and collaboration created huge energy and felt really positive, and the outcome has been strong ownership into the problems, a vision and solution. All was good until I’d recently spotted an article highlighting collaboration leads to mediocrity, surely not I thought, this goes against all my mental models.
An incoming colleague challenged the piece of work suggesting it wasn’t innovative enough, essentially mediocre. And do you know, there is some truth in the challenge.
Whilst the recent collaboration process generated lots of ideas related to the problems, on reflection the groups of stakeholders would pick the less innovative solutions and build on these, gaining lots of support and ownership along the way. It is clear that this will lead to much faster and effective implementation, indeed some stakeholders are pushing hard to put the solution in place soon.
Looking at a range of literature, including Quiet, some innovative solutions come from individuals and thus ownership initially starts with a very small number of people. The emphasis is then on persuading or demonstrating that the innovative solution has benefits for stakeholders, something that is implied in the collaboration process.
So this prompts a huge question, which is better mediocre solutions that have strong ownership, or fantastic solutions that few have strong ownership of.
Truth is, I don’t know. My gut feeling is that in complex change involving people ownership is king, but I will be much more conscious of this issue in the future.