20 May 2022

Developing service strategies using improvement tools in Bedfordshire Wellbeing Service

Have you ever felt like you don’t know how to organise all your great ideas for improvement into a coherent strategy? Or maybe you got lots of ideas you are working on and don’t know how to keep track of them? Then read on  

Bedford Wellbeing Service (BWS), who provide talking therapies to those living in Bedford, have been using a range of improvement tools to help them with identifying ideas for improvement and developing a strategy for their service.  The first set of tools come from a group of thinking approaches called Divergent and Convergent thinking tools. These are a group of tools that when used together lead teams through a process of thinking broadly about ideas and then narrowing them down to a few impactful ones.  

One of the first tools they used is Nominal Group Technique (NGT), which is a structured method for generating ideas. Bringing the team together, each person is given post it notes and ask to note several ideas around a specific issue or area being tackled. It is possible to do this in person or, as the team have been doing, using jamboard to do this virtually. The different ideas they generate are then themed into like groupings. This essentially forms the basis of a team’s Driver Diagram, or strategy on a page.  

Going through this process, BWS have been able to develop several driver diagrams to support their strategy. The team have an overall driver diagram which lists all their service strategies (9 in total) and is shown below in figure one. You can see how this aligns to the trust’s four main priorities as well. Each strategy then has its own individual driver diagram. You can see how these all link together in figure two 

Figure One – BWS Strategy

Figure Two – BWS Strategy Driver Diagrams and how they link together

 

Of course, with so many great ideas comes the challenge of identifying where to start and how to keep an eye on what is currently in progress. To help do this, the team had to think about a way to visually manage what they were planning on doing, what’s currently being worked on and what’s been done. To help keep this live, the teams used a colour coding system to identify ideas not started (in red), ideas being tested (amber), ideas already tested and implemented (green). They have been using a virtual collaboration tool called Miro to help them actively engage in this.  

This example from Bedford Wellbeing shows how an improvement mindset coupled with tools like convergent and divergent thinking, and driver diagrams can be used to support a whole service to orientate their work around a common aim.  

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