Category Archives: Digital Leadership

The Value of Critical Friends

 

photo-for-blog-posts

(Picture Credit: Bill Ferriter)

One of the most challenging and enjoyable elements of my work is being commissioned to provide Critical Friend reviews. In the increasingly crowded social space it is even more important that organisations have a digital strategy which connects, speaks and listens to often diverse audiences. Every organisation needs to show how their engagement strategies are generating tangible results and impact through digital leadership and culture. Over the last few years we have been carrying out an increasing number of critical friend reviews for public, private and not for profit organisations.

A critical friend review is an external and uniquely independent opinion of an organisation’s positioning, strategy or initiatives. It comes from a perspective that is sympathetic to what the organisation is trying to achieve and reflects the context whilst identifying opportunities, likely challenges and pitfalls.

A Critical Friend review addresses these fundamental questions:

  • How is your organisation positioned now?
  • Where do you want to be?
  • How are you going to get there?
  • How are you showing that your work makes a difference and has an impact?

In answering these questions, the emphasis is on being honest and ‘telling it how it is’. We recognise that this can be difficult but to be effective a critical friend review must be unafraid to comment on where the chosen approach is unlikely to deliver the desired results and to suggest different approaches.

Why is this valuable now?

The simple reason is that we are in a challenging economic and political climate with rapidly changing expectations of how services will be delivered. Consequently, organisations must develop new and unprecedented ways of working. As senior managers frequently tell me “Our approach to digital transformation needs to be different from anything we have done before”. With fewer resources available, and with more riding on outcomes than ever before, organisations cannot afford to make mistakes in the way they respond to these challenges.  A critical friend review helps organisation prepare for navigating uncharted territory through market intelligence which has been gained over many years of working across the social sector.

I believe it is crucial for proposed approaches to be subjected to independent scrutiny. The feedback will not inevitably be negative: it will identify what is being done well and can highlight strengths and opportunities that may have been missed. A great deal of our work consists in recommending organisations, initiatives and resources which our clients may be unaware of – but which could greatly assist in the achievement of their objectives.

Successive governments have recognised the importance of critical friending for the public sector.  We draw on the ‘Critical Friend Framework’ published in 2004 which identifies three dimensions of critical friending: ‘inputs’ (looking at the skills and experience involved in a project), process and structure (considering the way in which projects are organised) and outcomes (evaluating what the organisation is aiming to achieve and prospects of success).

In acting as a critical friend, we are able to draw upon many years of working with adult and children’s services, health, housing, social enterprises, entrepreneurs, academics and charities. Our knowledge and expertise encompasses policy, research, marketing, communications and digital technology. This ‘width and depth’ – together with an ability to look at a situation from a range of different perspectives – is really an essential requirement of a critical friend. There is little value in being told what you already know!

What this means in practice is illustrated by a comment from one of our clients Barnwood Trust,

 “Embarking on a new website and a whole new approach to the way we were working, and on top of that a new brand for it all, was a big and sometimes daunting job. We spent a long time researching, planning and testing each of our ideas and concepts, making sure that we were developing something that people wanted and felt would be useful to them. It was during this process that we came across Shirley and her work as a critical friend.

“Shirley took on the role of critical friend for our new brand and website, You’re Welcome  and provided us with a completely different and invaluable perspective. Not only did Shirley provide a thought provoking report from which we have been able to develop and also strengthen our ideas but she also provided support throughout the review on the phone. It was extremely useful to talk our work through with someone with as much knowledge and experience as Shirley. To have a report at the end of it really helped with the work and how we developed it. Shirley was an absolute pleasure to work with and we will definitely be looking to draw from her skills and experience again in the future.”

Transformational change across the health, care and housing and social sectors now requires digital leadership, market intelligence and approaches which acknowledge the value of radical thinking. 

Expectations of more openness, transparency and accountability in publicly funded services along with the immediacy of social media in highlighting disconnects between the rhetoric and reality of how organisations present themselves makes the role of  a independent critical friend even more important.

I am often asked to comment on projects, websites, digital products and services but the response often needs more than a tweet (or two!). I am happy to discuss how a critical friend review could help your organisation. Please feel free to contact me. Shirley.Ayres@btinternet.com  @shirleyayres

Shirley is co-founder of the Connected Care Network which supports digital transformation and engagement using technology & social media for social good.

 

 

 

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Social conversations, social media and social good

You may have picked up that Mark Brown  Paul Taylor   and I are running an event on the 29th April in Central London. We are exploring “What can social media do to make social good better?”

 

What makes it special for me is that Mark, Paul and I come from very different backgrounds but we have a shared interest in how social media is defining care, support and community engagement both online and offline in the digital age. We are also exploring what it means to be a social business and the importance of seeing social media  as part of a core vision to transform your business rather than a marginal activity. 

We are delighted that we already received sponsorship for a place at the event which has been awarded to Alison Cameron @allyc375. If you  would like to sponsor a place at the event do get in touch!  We look forward to discussing the questions submitted by participants and via Twitter.

Whether you work in the public, private, charity or social enterprise sectors understanding the impact of social media for social good is now essential. We do hope you will join us on the 29th April for a very social conversation. You can follow the discussion on Twitter using the hahtag #socialconvo. Following the considerable interest in my post “Is social media putting the ‘social’ back into care” we particularly welcome people from the care sector interested  why “Social media is a fundamental shift in the way we communicate” .

Our conversations started when Stu Arnott @MindingsStu and I interviewed Mark and Paul for the Disruptive Social Care podcast. The podcasts have been downloaded thousands of times but just in case you missed these interviews…….

Mark Brown has been described as one of the smartest thinkers in the worlds of social media and mental health. Mark edits One in Four, England’s only national mental health and wellbeing magazine written by people who experience mental health difficulties. Mark is a director of Social Spider a community interest company helping people to make change happen. 

 

Paul Taylor specialises on Innovation, Service Design and Research
and Development at Bromford a social business providing homes and support to over 80,000 people. Paul leads the Innovation Lab and he is particularly interested in the development of preventative social solutions and the power of technology to connect people. Paul was a key part of the team who developed the Bromford Deal which aims to shift resources away from reactive interventions and into more person centred customer care and support.

 

We look forward to you joining us on the 29th April to be part of a very social conversation 

Connected Care Camp survey – what are the priorities?

Connected Care Camp on the 7th December is bringing together front line staff, managers, people who use health and care services as well as carers to explore how we can improve the wider care sector including housing.

Connected Care Camp is part of the Public Service Launchpad a new programme to help passionate people who work either paid or unpaid in all kinds of public services – whether in local government, housing associations, health services, the third sector, social enterprises or elsewhere to develop ideas to solve the problems that they encounter every day. Ideas can involve small changes or radical redesign of services.

Not everyone can attend this one-off event in person but you can join in on Twitter using the hashtag #psicare.

We know what many of the problems are, many are making headlines on a daily basis so we are looking for solutions that work and that can scale. We need a clearer vision of what works and who could benefit so that we can optimise the skills and resources we currently have. This includes decommissioning services that are not effective.

In a fragmented health and care system we need to be clear about who has responsibilities for action, how organisations and communities can be more effective and how health, care and housing can be better co-ordinated around people who could benefit.

To help us organise the day and better engage the wider community via social media we would welcome your responses to our survey.

Click here to take the survey

Find out more about Connected Care Camp and book your place here

Disruptive Social Care News and Innovation Video Podcast 20 now online!

Welcome to our twentieth Podcast , we hope that you enjoy it!

Reblogged from the Disruptive Social Care website

Please leave comments and let us have a conversation. Also, come and “Like” us on Facebook if that’s your thing, and follow Shirley and Stuart on Twitter:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/DisruptiveSocialCare
YouTube Channel: www.youtube.com/disruptivesocialcare
Stuart Arnott on Twitter: https://twitter.com/MindingsStu
Shirley Ayres on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ShirleyAyres

Shownotes

Citizen 2013 June 13th London provided the opportunity for a stimulating and provocative discussion about digital engagement and government service in 2013. https://twitter.com/CareQualityComm has over 21,000 followers but only actually follows 215 people. http://citizen-2012.org/

The Kings Fund International Congress on Telehealth and Telecare 2013
http://www.kingsfund.org.uk/events/third-annual-international-congress-telehealth-and-telecare

Challenging comments from George Crooks @NHS24 “if you always do things the same way and never redesign services then #telehealth will always cost more” and “tech is potential disruptor, but service redesign is key. The workforce are trying to work round deficiencies in the current structures which include blocking staff from using social media”.

Panel debate on the pros and cons of Telehealth and Telecare chaired by https://twitter.com/RoyLilley and including ttps://twitter.com/mellojonny

Kent Care in the Digital Age conference
https://shirleyayres.wordpress.com/2013/08/25/kentdigicare-a-milestone-for-connected-care/ #kentdigicare

Congratulations to Andrea Sutcliffe https://twitter.com/Crouchendtiger7 Chief Executive of the Social Care Institute for Excellence who has been appointed by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) as its first Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care.
Watch her on DSC Podcast 6: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WAF4Q5qx8gs

Growing old (dis)gracefully: Choice for the late middle age
https://twitter.com/JohnW_Bromford
http://www.24dash.com/news/housing/2013-08-28-Opinion-Growing-old-dis-gracefully-Choice-for-the-late-middle-age?utm_content=bufferb78b0&utm_source=buffer&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=Buffer

NHS re-organisation
Follow https://twitter.com/clarkmike
Subscribing to monthly eNewsletter http://www.telecarelin.org.uk/
An alternative guide to the new NHS in England by the Kings Fund
http://www.kingsfund.org.uk/projects/nhs-65/alternative-guide-new-nhs-england

Ermintrude2
https://twitter.com/Ermintrude2 has started writing again
Social Work Journal Club Chat
#swjcchat.
http://swjcchat.wordpress.com/2013/07/07/what-is-the-social-work-journal-club/

Health & Illness in a Connected World
Fascinating post about online peer support in the digital age
https://twitter.com/clarkmike
http://1.usa.gov/17MH9dJ

HealthyWalks
https://twitter.com/healthywalks network run by https://twitter.com/RamblersGB & https://twitter.com/macmillancancer

http://bit.ly/1f4yB4I Walking for Health
Free local easy walks
http://www.walkingforhealth.org.uk/

Systems Thinking for Girls
We recommend the writing of https://twitter.com/STforgirls who challenge every day management thinking and sexism.
http://systemsthinkingforgirls.com/

Challenges and opportunities of Digital Leadership
https://twitter.com/clarkmike
10 top tips asks whether a ‘digital’ leader any different from a ‘traditional’ leader.
https://shirleyayres.wordpress.com/2013/08/08/digital-leadership-10-top-tips-from-clarkmike/

Lessons in Digital Leadership (from South Korea and Uganda)
https://twitter.com/PaulBromford
http://paulbromford.wordpress.com/2013/08/08/lessons-in-digital-leadership-from-south-korea-and-uganda/

Three Ways To Get Cool Stuff Done Quickly At Work
https://twitter.com/HelReynolds
http://paulbromford.wordpress.com/2013/08/12/three-ways-to-get-cool-stuff-done-quickly-at-work/

Meet Helen Reynolds the #socialmedia guru who makes Monmouthshire rock
http://www.theguardian.com/local-government-network/2013/aug/23/social-media-monmouthshire?utm_source=buffer&utm_campaign=Buffer&utm_content=buffercc007&utm_medium=twitter

The living map of ageing innovators
https://twitter.com/nesta_uk
provides a guide to some of the most exciting things happening in the world of ageing. http://ageinginnovators.org/

Living map of job innovators
https://twitter.com/nesta_uk
The most exciting things happening in the world of job creation and tackling worklessness.
http://jobsinnovators.org/

Nominet trust Social Tech, Social Change – seeks to inspire more entrepreneurs to develop new ventures using digital technology for social impact.
http://www.nominettrust.org.uk/what-we-support/our-investment-programmes/social-tech-social-change

The Digital Edge is an investment programme to fund innovative, tested ideas for using digital technology to improve young people’s economic and social participation.
http://www.nominettrust.org.uk/what-we-support/our-investment-programmes/digital-edge

The Life Transitions programme funds innovative ventures using digital technology to support people during periods of transition, such as moving in and out of employment, bereavement, or moving in and out of a healthcare environment.
http://www.nominettrust.org.uk/what-we-support/our-investment-programmes/life-transitions

Nominet Trust 100
http://www.nominettrust.org.uk/knowledge-centre/nominet-trust-100

Click Guide to Technology for Adult Care
https://shirleyayres.wordpress.com/2013/02/21/available-now-the-click-guide-to-digital-technology-for-adult-social-care/

Mindings Update
http://www.leightonbuzzardonline.co.uk/news/community/snap-up-a-place-in-this-trial-to-tackle-loneliness-1-5350730

Kickstarter “Be Natural”: Alice Guy-Blaché
The first female director in the motion-picture industry and is one of the first directors of fiction films.
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/benatural/be-natural-the-untold-story-of-alice-guy-blache

Let Toys Be Toys
Campaign to stop retailers limiting children’s imaginations and interests by promoting some toys as only suitable for girls, and others only for boys.
http://www.lettoysbetoys.org.uk
Sign the petition!
https://www.change.org/petitions/toy-retailers-in-uk-and-ireland-stop-promoting-toys-as-only-for-boys-or-only-for-girls-2

Twitter Tips and The Art Of Tweeting: Do’s And Don’ts
https://twitter.com/ValaAfshar
http://www.informationweek.com/social-business/social_networking_consumer/the-art-of-tweeting-dos-and-donts/240157863?utm_source=buffer&utm_campaign=Buffer&utm_content=bufferab9ff&utm_medium=twitter

UP-COMING MONTH

5 September
WonkComms: Rent-a-quote? Think tanks, media and strategy.
http://wonkcomms.net/2013/07/17/event-rent-a-quote-think-tanks-media-and-strategy/

5 September
Social Care Curry Club
https://socialcarecurryclub.wordpress.com/
https://twitter.com/SocialCareCurry
Started by https://twitter.com/Mattbowsher and supported by https://twitter.com/GeorgeJulian

September 10
World Health Organization and the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) will co-sponsor World Suicide Prevention Day
https://twitter.com/WHO
https://twitter.com/IASPinfo

#FOLLOW FRIDAY

@whatsthepont
http://whatsthepont.com/

@TryLife_tv
Online drama series
https://twitter.com/PaulRIrwin (Director)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HTSa9HxxWLI&feature=youtu.be

@allyc375
“Health and social care hell raiser”

@LetToysBeToys
Campaign to stop retailers limiting children’s imaginations and interests by promoting some toys as only suitable for girls, and others only for boys.

 

#kentdigicare a milestone for connected care?

On the 12th July an exciting event took place in Sittingbourne Kent. 150 professionals and volunteers from care, health, housing, community services and the voluntary sector joined together with service users and carers to discuss how digital technology can enhance care services. They were joined online by people with an interest in social innovation for care from across the UK. The aim of the event was to explore how digital technology can help to improve the wellbeing of individuals who need care and support as well as their families and carers.To encourage social learning from the event we have gathered together all of the resources shared before, during and after the day.

#KentDigiCare was the first collaboration from the Connected Care Network. We are now in discussions with a number of organisations and further collaborations will be announced in the autumn.

Welcome to #kentdigicare @shirleyayres

Why I’m excited about #kentdigicare by @uk_james

Conference Programme via @KentSocialCare

Presentations

@dominiccampbell “Care in the Digital Age: The Use of Technology in Care 

Can online innovations enhance social care? Shirley Ayres 

Workshops To understand how social networks are now influencing innovations in  care the first workshops provided participants with the opportunity to find  out more about using social media and providing digital leadership. A big thank you to  all our  workshop facilitators who travelled from far and wide to support Kent Care in the Digital Age!

Social Media – The Basics @paulbromford

Social Media top tips for #kentdigicare from @clarkmike and @shirleyayres

The event was followed widely across the UK !  #kentdigicare a quick video summary thanks @ailinmartinez

Resources provided for the workshops

Monmouthshire County Council Social Media Guidance for staff and members

Bromford Group Social Media Guidelines

NHS Employers HR and Social Media Guidance

Engage: Digital and Social Media Engagement for the Police Service

Social Media 

The Public Sector Social Media Survey 2013 Infographic from Goss Interactive provides a snapshot of the public sector’s current use of social media on an organisational level.

20 Things They Never Told Us About Going Social – Paul Taylor

Seven Twitter mistakes we all have to make – Helen Reynolds

Social Media Playbook – ELOQUA

Twitter in 15 minutes A beginners guide by @besttechguyever  Facebook 101 for health and care organisations@claireOT

Social Media in Mental Health Practice @VictoriaBetton

The Click Guide to Digital Technology for Adult Social Care

An archive of all the Live Stream recordings made during the day by @johnpopham is available to watch on YouTube 

The tweets were storified thanks to @clarkmike

#KENTDIGICARE – 12 JULY 2012 (WITH IMAGES, TWEETS) · CLARKMIKE

#KentDigiCare – the discussions continue – 15 July 2013 (with tweet)… 

You can still join in the discussions and share resources via the #KentDigiCare hashtag on Twitter.

#KentDigiCare Symplur Analytics Headline Numbers: over 2,643,755 impressions, 194 people participated online and an average 46 tweets per hour.

Blogs

My first blog post! Care in the Digital Age Reflections @TeresaTinsel

#KentDigiCare – a giant leap for Social Movements @whoseshoes

Mindings and Care in the Digital Age @MindingsStu

What did we achieve?

Every participant to make at least five new connections, learn about five new technology innovations that will enhance care in their communities and taking  learning points to share with colleagues in the workplace and community connectors and builders.

Conclusions

“The Kent Care in the Digital Age event created a fantastic environment for engagement, improving understanding and furthering discussion about how  professionals can widen their understanding of the digital opportunities that exist.  We need to understand  how technology can support people to connect with their communities, provide tools for family carers and professional staff and  importantly put people in more control of their own lives. One of the key messages coming through from #kentdigicare was that we need to support people, whenever possible, to use the technology themselves to complement more “traditional”health and social care support. It’s time for health and social care to catch up and enter the digital age.” James Lampert Commissioning Manager Kent County Council @uk_james

Digital Leadership – 10 top tips from @clarkmike

twitter at smwldnIs a ‘digital’ leader any different from a ‘traditional’ leader? Following on from top ten tips on social media http://bit.ly/16v9eGf, Mike Clark suggests some of the likely characteristics of digital leaders.

1 You don’t have to be a techie

Digital leaders do not have to be experts on tech detail, but need to understand how to exploit it to make connections and achieve good outcomes that make a difference

2 You don’t need an organisation

Digital leaders don’t always have organisations, budgets or staff – they don’t need structure charts – they may have more connections and followers outside of their own organisations

3 Its 24/7/365 and chaotic

Digital leaders operate in a 24/7/365 disrupted & chaotic world not cosy hierarchies, clubs and niches – they build new connections & collaborations at speed – they may be on their own but they communicate extensively

4 You listen more to people with opposing views

Digital leaders seek out people with different views and perspectives to understand how barriers can be overcome – they have wide reach, they question and challenge, summarise and synthesise, simplify and de-clutter when necessary

5 Restrict social media access and you may lose your followers

If organisational managers restrict social media access in work hours, staff will find digital leaders out of hours operating 24/7/365 in open, accessible environments. Equally, giving staff access to social media is unlikely to turn around a poorly led organisation

6 Inspire in 140 characters & trust your staff

If as a leader you are not able to summarise your vision in simple terms in 140 characters, someone else on social media will probably be the inspiration for your staff. Sadly, staff are often forced to leave their digital skills at the office door – digital leaders help nurture and develop those skills

7 Be courageous

It takes courageous leaders to allow their own hierarchies to be disrupted – digital leaders can build external followers before looking at how they can develop & engage their own organisations. Digital leadership is not the role of the Comms Team

8 Use multiple platforms to source ideas and communicate success 

Digital leaders use social media on multiple platforms as a test bed for their ideas and innovations – crowdsourcing, cajoling, capturing and continuously looking for and communicating small wins

9 Think real time, not part time

Digital leaders acknowledge sources, build trust and show appreciation in real time using multiple platforms that work for their connections and followers who appreciate the recognition of their contributions

10 Review and dismantle barriers

Digital leaders review and dismantle traditional infrastructures that act as barriers to innovation or which do not add value – they support and champion people that are close to service users and customers – they help people unlearn bad habits & some non-digital skills that impede progress

Mike Clark has worked as an independent consultant in health and social care since 1992. You can currently find him reporting on telehealth, telemedicine, telecare, digital and mHeath as well as UK health and social care for www.telecarelin.org.ukhttps://www.rebelmouse.com/clarkmike/ or Google at ‘Mike Clark Telecare’