Filed under: Design and Society, Fellowship, Innovation
The BBC reported yesterday that spending on care is in down by a fifth. While this puts a figure on the amount that it’s been cut over the past decade, the fact that home care is in crisis is well known. Demand is up, money to fund it is down, too few people want to do the work and the way it’s run keeps meaningful, caring relationships from forming between workers and those they care for.
In response, Labour announced this week that if it wins the election it will integrate services ‘from home to hospital’, helping end 15-minute care slots and incentivising providers to improve social care. Not only that, they’ll also provide 5,000 more home care workers and offer all vulnerable older people a safety check.
While this is all good, there’s something not quite right about it – the whiff of advisors sitting round a table shouting out solutions to someone sticking a stack of post-it notes on the wall. ‘A safety check for everyone’ ‘Free walking sticks for all’ ‘A 1,000 extra homecare workers’ ‘Is that enough?’ ‘Make it 5,000 then’.
Other parties will not be too far behind in their promises, which will be less or more generous, but will all share the same trait. They will be headline grabbing, with this amount of money pledged or that policy change all that’s needed to make the difference. It will lack the sense that they’ve thought deeply about the problem and reached a considered response working in partnership with those closest to the issues.
Here at the RSA we’ve been discussing home care rather a lot recently, more specifically a Dutch home care company called Buurtzorg, due to its pioneering organisational model. It’s a company with 6,500 nurses and 35 back office staff. Yes, that’s right, 35 back office staff supporting 6,500 frontline staff who in turn look after 60,000 patients a year.
The way they work is to arrange nurses into autonomous units of 12 and let them operate largely as they decide. A strong IT system not only makes the finance, HR and other central parts of the business easy to use and efficient, it also provides strong social networking to share ideas and help each other solve problems.
This lack of hierarchical management, replaced by self-organisation and increased trust, has turned the traditional hierarchical model on its head. Care workers decide themselves how to spend their time, choosing to spend more of it with individual clients, building up relationships and trust. In a study of client satisfaction Buurtzorg came top out of 307 community care organisations. It turns out to be cost effective too as the model leads to more prevention, a shorter period of care and less spending on overheads. This is all incredibly impressive.
One of the powerful things about it is that it began with nurses themselves. Jos de Blok, the founder, is a former nurse who didn’t like the way home care was organised in Holland, which was similar to the way it is currently organised here with very short, timed visits and no allowance for the social side of care or the development of a meaningful relationship between carer and client.
Rather than wait for someone else to fix it he decided to do something about it himself, starting his own organisation with three other nurses in 2006. There were no special dispensations from Government, no grants to get it off the ground, he competed with everyone else on equal terms and Buurtzorg is now the leading supplier of home care in Holland by a large margin.
Something similar would be fantastic to have here, not only to improve home care in this country, but also to increase staff well-being and to demonstrate that a completely different type of organisation is possible. You can wait to see if political parties and their pledges can make all the difference, but I wouldn’t hold your breath. Instead, if you are a Fellow working in this area, I’d love to hear from you to see if we can start a Buurtzorg type revolution ourselves.
Oliver Reichardt is the Director of Fellowship at the RSA
Follow him @OliverReichardt
At the RSA, we always set out to engage, connect and inspire Fellows across the UK and now we will be using a new event format to boost this. Our RSA Engage series has been turbo charged for 2015- moving from its trial phase in 2014 to become a cornerstone of our activity.
The Engage series is a national programme of events aimed at showcasing RSA activity and providing space for our Fellows to meet, share their ideas and offer support to Fellow-led projects in a simple and structured way. To give you a flavour of what we have in store, here are some of my favourite stories from 2014.
Okay, so this isn’t a story, rather a call out for you to create the story. 2014 Engage pilots saw a raft of great people and ideas brought together. 2015 is going to be bigger and better through our Engage and Connect events will have created space for 184 project pitches and 44 Connect discussion slot. That’s 228 potential new ideas to be discussed and shared. These events are free and open to all, so do invite friends and colleagues that are keen to find out more about the RSA.
Imagine a world where we don’t throw anything away. Everything is reused, composted or recycled and people living on the same street work together and share resources.
Katy Anderson FRSA from social enterprise Cwm Harry is working towards this vision of a zero waste world through The Rubbish Diet, the UK’s slimming club for bins. She would like to invite Fellows across the UK to join the thousands of people who are helping bringing zero waste closer by committing to a completely new kind of New Year’s Diet.
Across the UK, huge amounts of valuable recyclable materials are being lost to landfill and incineration. In West London, where the Rubbish Diet is working in six boroughs, 67% of the waste sent to landfill could have been recycled.
It goes to landfill by train, the waste train is one-third of a mile long, taking 1,000 tonnes of “rubbish”, six days a week. 1,000,000 recyclable bottles a week go to landfill every week on the train, when they could have been made into new bottles and been back on the supermarket shelves in just 3 weeks.
How does it work?
Anyone can join The Rubbish Diet by taking an easy online challenge to slim their bins. The Diet will motivate you to set a goal and measure your progress by tackling two simple steps over just a few weeks.
You’ll receive emails with great tips on how to recycle to the max, make the most of your food and avoid waste altogether. Dieters experience very quickly the positive difference their actions make to their waste and they are encouraged to share their ideas and questions, creating a whole new conversation about waste reduction and the positive impact it has on our lives.
Dieters then spread the word amongst their friends and family, and so the Diet grows…
Crucially, The Rubbish Diet tackles the issues that make it hard to avoid waste – this quarter we’re focusing on packaging, culminating with a workshop at the Resource Event on Thursday 5 March 2015.
On average people slim their bins by 40% on the Diet, and the change is permanent. Slimming your bin will save you money as you’ll reduce food waste and start reusing more, and it has obvious benefits for the environment – food waste alone in the UK is the equivalent of one in four cars on our roads in terms of carbon emissions.
Thousands of people have already taken the Rubbish Diet across UK, taking it online, in collaboration with their whole street or in a group. Jackie and Howard from Shrewsbury took the Diet with their street, meeting to talk rubbish with their neighbours over tea and cake. They now have slim bins, run clothes swaps and share trips to the recycling centre, and have gotten to know their neighbours! Since they started two years ago, they’ve saved 6 tonnes from landfill.
Simon who shrank his overflowing wheelie bin by two thirds said:
“I’m so proud of what we’ve achieved – you could heat the house on my smugness. The whole family is loving our weekly trip to the market where we can buy food with less packaging, and save money too”.
Taking a close look at what we throw away has a real impact on our lifestyles. As Dieter Sarah from Harrow explains.
“I thought I was good at recycling, but The Rubbish Diet Challenge has really made a big impact on how I view, well, everything in fact. It’s really changed my life. It made me think about the make do and mend culture that everyone had back in the 1940s, 50s and 60s. I am much more careful about what I buy, and I reuse and mend much more than I used to. ”
The Rubbish Diet solution finally provides a structured, yet fun, community based way to recycle. Sign-up and let Katy know how you think it could be shared in your area.
I love ideas. I suppose it’s one of the fundamental things which attracted me to working for the RSA and which sustains my time as a Fellow and member of staff. My inbox is invariably filled with emails starting “I have an idea I wanted to discuss”, a tantalising opportunity to explore something new, usually over a cup of coffee or four (when asked what I did for a living, my son once explained that “Daddy drinks coffee”).
Of course not all the ideas are achievable or in line with the RSA’s objectives and Change Aims. This is something that is becoming ever more the case as we progress with the strategic review, and the clarity of purpose which it is bringing to our work. We had gone through a period of letting “a thousand flowers bloom” which definitely had its benefits for re-energising the wider Fellowship, however a more focused approach will allow us to bring maximum support to key projects.
Last night, as I was woken up by a drunk housemate coming back from her Christmas party in the wee small hours, I was struck by the oddity of the pre-Christmas indulgence culture.
There are two parts to this issue I found myself considering at 3am this morning. The first is our acceptance of excessive alcohol consumption: something that my colleagues in the West Kent Recovery Team explore. The second is the plausibility of one individual to make a difference to society without sacrificing their enjoyment of the season.
It’s tricky to know how to navigate the plethora of opportunities to do good effectively. So in an attempt to summarise my (somewhat sleep-deprived) thoughts, I’ve categorised opportunities into: Give generously; don’t change your lifestyle, change your supplier; and everything changes.
I recently travelled up to Alloa in Clackmannanshire to support a Fellow-led project named Resonate. Now, Clackmannanshire (and particularly Alloa) is not an area that receives much attention in Scotland, let alone further afield – until relatively recently my knowledge of it had consisted of the football team, personal attendance at the beer festival and their world leading work in phonics – so it great to see such an inspiring project thriving in that area, making a tangible difference to the people in their community. Although it ostensibly started off as a community arts project, Resonate acts as so much more now – it is a vibrant, inclusive heart of its community, passionately supported by service users, creative, activists and other brilliant people. I was in Alloa, on this occasion, to provide for support for Resonate as they have been put forward for a Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service and Johnny Stewart, the Lord Lieutenant of Clackmannanshire, was visiting the project to assess its suitability. So a group of us gathered with mugs of coffee and pastries in hand, ready to meet with the Lord Lieutenant and answer his questions about Resonate.
Help kickstart increased access to arts and gender equality in the UK theatre – All female Richard III production aims to change the conversation
Filed under: Arts and Society, Fellowship
Fellow Yvonne Murphy guest blogs about her all female production of Richard III. Read about her plans and find out how you can help make it happen.
I am a new RSA & Clore Fellow and I run Omidaze Productions. I am staging an all-female production of Shakespeare’s Richard III, supported by the Arts Council of Wales and Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff in February 2015 and I need your support. I have launched an RSA Kickstarter campaign because we literally cannot afford to pay everyone we want to be involved and make it happen as planned unless we reach our target and I need your support.
Restorative Justice is achieved when the person who has been harmed by a crime is supported by a third party to communicate with the person who caused the harm, to the benefit of both parties, their families and their communities. It is achieved through an impartial communication service, which ensures that the communication is safe, supported, and voluntary. RJ working set up as a social enterprise in Cornwall to provide such a service, and also to tackle the issue of why, in England and Wales, Restorative Justice (RJ) is unknown to the vast majority of people. This affects take-up of the offer of RJ: if it seems like a strange experiment it won’t be so likely to be chosen by victims of crime struggling with overwhelming anger or acute vulnerability. The mainstream population has not yet recognised the potential of this way of working to reduce the frustration, fear, anxiety and sense of powerlessness that are generated when one person harms another. It is not yet normal to request RJ, or to be offered a meeting, as it is in many other countries. Nearby in Northern Ireland over 14,000 Restorative Justice ‘Conferences’ have made a huge contribution to rebuilding community over the last twelve years.
Filed under: Education Matters, Enterprise, Fellowship, Innovation
Imagine reading a Wikipedia biography, and the subject says hello and introduces themselves. That’s the idea behind a project run by Fellow Andy Mabbett, called The “Wiki Voice Introduction Project” (“Wiki VIP”- geddit?)
“Hello, my name is Andy Mabbett, and I was born in Birmingham, England. I’ve been a Wikipedia editor since 2003 and Wikipedian-in-Residence at a number of institutions, most recently the Royal Society of Chemistry”
- If I said that out loud, it would take around ten or twelve seconds, but in that time, you’d know what my voice sounds like (enough to confirm my identity, if you’d heard me on the radio), a little about me (enough to distinguish me from someone else with the same name), and how my name is pronounced (useful if you’re about to meet me, or mention me in a presentation or on air). In fact, you’d have the canonical pronunciation of my name: mine.
Since we started a project to make such recordings a while ago, we’ve had similar contributions from Adil Ray, Alice Arnold, Sir Peter Bazalgette, Emma Freud, Charles Duke (one of twelve people to walk on the Moon) and a host of others – including, of course Fellows of the RSA, like Stephen Fry, Howard Goodall and computer scientist Sue Black.
We have contributions in Welsh, Dutch, French, Polish, Catalan, and Russian, too – some people record themselves in more than one language. The contributors include scientists, authors, journalists, artists, explorers, librarians, a peer of the realm, and even many Eurovision Song Contest competitors! Each recording is – like all Wikipedia content – available under an open licence, allowing anyone to reuse it.
How you can help
I want to invite anyone – everyone – who is the subject of a biography in Wikipedia, to provide a brief recording, saying the same kind of things about themselves – or a little more if they care to. Many fellows will have Wikipedia articles about them (but please – don’t write a Wikipedia autobiography; it’s really frowned upon) and can make a recording on their phone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer and email it to me for uploading, or upload it to Wikipedia’s sister project, Wikimedia Commons themselves.
While not every Fellow has an article about them, I bet every one of us has a colleague, friend or relative who does. Some Fellows no doubt work as PAs or agents; they can supply recordings of their clients.
Imagine if we could hear the voices of RSA fellows of the past. Let’s make sure future generations can hear ours.
Andy Mabbett, FRSA
• View Andy’s blog ‘Pigs on the wing’.
• See a guide to making a Wiki VIP recording, and more examples
• Contact Andy by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Filed under: Enterprise, Fellowship, Innovation, Uncategorized
Disrupting Eye Care
Start-up accelerators are going through an evolution, generally becoming more focused on verticals, such as digital health or fintech. I have taken this one step further, establishing an accelerator focused on eye care.
I am testing the idea that a very focused accelerator can offer better support for the start-ups, but also that it can act as a catalyst to build out an ecosystem. In this instance we are building the eye-care innovation ecosystem.
The accelerator is a 12 week program, and therefore a short, focused period of activity around which to cluster people. It is not labour intensive for partners and mentors, yet due to its intensity is very content rich and has high returns for those involved.
The returns are more than just supporting the start-ups. Mentoring is a great way to learn about new innovations, to challenge your own ideas, and to meet other mentors. Equally, our partners and sponsors are getting involved in a very focused networking opportunity. We hope to create value for the whole ecosystem, whilst at the same time offering intense support for our start-ups. Read more