A briefing story for our pioneering founder creators on BOB

Sunday, April 12, 2020 |
Here is a briefing story that I wrote on BOB.health for our Founding Creators. It was created by moving through the structured questions that we ask to look at a particular experience or project. I skipped more than half of the questions, which weren't relevant - this took me about 20 minutes to complete. Thanks, Neil Crump, co-founder, BOB.health.

By reading through the question and answer format, you will get a sense of the BOB.health project. We pass on some tips and ideas of how to use the platform, and how to get learning mobilised through sharing stories and telling more people about BOB.health.

A Briefing Note for Founding Creators

Tell your story about the project you worked on
Can you tell us about what prompted this project and what you did to kick things off?
BOB.health was created to help NHS staff like you to be able to tell your story about how you and your team have adapted your working practice in response to COVID-19. These stories can be easily searched and also shared into a person’s professional network, meaning ideas spread quickly.

How has your working day changed in relation to this project/COVID-19?
Staff are busier than ever. You are also understaffed and putting patients first like never before. In regular times, writing your experience can be a challenge. So we have streamlined the approach and made this work for you in this emergency for the NHS. 

We started to look into/assess/evaluate…
We created a writing engine that makes the otherwise daunting task of writing easier by asking you a set of precise questions. As you answer them, this builds up a picture of how you are responding to COVID-19. Drawing out your knowledge and experience that colleagues elsewhere in the NHS will value.

And as a result of that, we’ve changed/implemented/helped/guided/supported
Staff need to find ideas as they face new experiences on the spot: in a break or on their day off as they reflect on their experiences. That’s why this free-to-NHS service has been set-up. Staff have told us that it would be useful to be able to record their COVID experiences in-the-moment, so they are captured for reflection another time when less overwhelmed. These insights will likely be invaluable to others.

What has been the culmination of the project and the impact on the team and issue you were seeking to change up to this point?
BOB.health launches on 14 April. We need pioneering individuals to be brave and be the first to share their experiences to get the ball rolling. If you need extra guidance or support to make this step we are at the end of a phone for the coming days, 24/7 just like you are for patients. Call on 07738 206 153. Or simply follow the instructions: answering the questions in bold type and use the bullets as guides. Thanks.

Key information

Why is this project worth doing in this current time?
Every single NHS staff member has a valuable story to tell, as every aspect of work has changed. You will be making change at such a rapid pace. By sharing your experience, you get to document that change and pass on these insights and ideas to others.

What are the aims of this project?
The aim of BOB it to make shared learning happen now, and for staff to share their experience in the future as the number of cases fall and the system returns to a new normal. Our mid-March poll of NHS staff found 96% wanted to read about how others are adapting. An astonishing 62%, said in the next busy months, they could invest an hour in telling their story. That is why we decided to create this supportive tool; in the middle of a crisis, shared learning becomes a necessity. BOB supports NHS staff to help each other.

How did you understand the issue your project was trying to address?
We have been looking at the challenge of shared learning for several years and were going to launch a free-to-NHS module that captured general improvement projects in June 2020. We wanted to build a library of stories that people can refer to when they embark on a project. As we saw what was happening in Italy, we asked NHS staff, realised there was a need for sharing stories and so pivoted and created the COVID-19 module in less than three weeks.

How can you tell that a change is occurring? How are you measuring your project’s impact?
We are literally in the first few days of making BOB available to NHS staff. We are doing everything in our power to spread the word. We are a tiny start-up, with no big budgets to advertise. So once you have created your story, we need you to share it confidently. You will help other staff elsewhere in the NHS. We also ask you to tell others about BOB and let them know how easy it is to use. 

Capability i.e. Has there been any gaps in knowledge or skills?

If yes, what have these challenges been? Have you been able to overcome them? If so, how? If not, why has this been difficult?
Many people that we are encouraging to tell their story may never have written something like this before and therefore wouldn’t know where to start. BOB creates the structure to answer the questions, concisely, drawing out the insights that others will value.

Opportunity i.e. Have people needed to adapt their existing schedules to accommodate the project? Have you lacked any environmental resources (space, equipment etc.)? Have there been any financial barriers? Have there been any communications or political challenges?

If yes, what have these challenges been? Have you been able overcome them? If so, how? If not, why has this been difficult?
The key challenge is that NHS staff are busy and under tremendous pressure. That’s why we have made this supportive tool as easy as possible, it should take under 60 minutes to complete, and that’s it you answer every question. It is good to be as thorough as possible but simply skip questions you don’t feel you need to answer.

Motivation or individual barriers i.e. Have people had any set beliefs, attitudes, habits, emotions related to the topic that have presented challenges?

If yes, what have these challenges been? Have you been able overcome them? If so, how? If not, why has this been difficult?
Some people might not recognise that what the changes they have made in their day-to-day job are particularly remarkable. They have just ‘got on with it’. That’s why the structured questions are so useful. They make you think about what you and you teams are doing and draw out the insight. 

The good
The enablers that make this project happen are the fantastic NHS staff like you that are doing tremendous work supporting patients. Even under pressure, you want to make a contribution and see the value of telling a story that would help a colleague you’ve never met somewhere else in the UK.

The bad
The COVID-19 crisis is terrible - we hope that BOB helps make a difference in a small way amid this emergency.

The ugly
You deserve a decent place for shared learning; we have done our best to bring you this supportive online tool. It isn’t perfect, and we encourage your feedback, tell us what you’d like to see improved or added. We are focused on enhancing it over the coming weeks and months. 

Have you conducted this project in partnership with, or on behalf of, another organisation or company?
Co-founders Marc Southern and Neil Crump developed the concept of BOB.health. In the future, BOB will bring you another free module to help you tell stories of how you make improvement happen in standard times, as well as sponsored stories of NHS staff introducing innovation and working collaboratively with NHS suppliers. For now, we are focused COVID-19 and making the tool better for you and your colleagues around the UK. Read about our journey and how we are set-up here on our blog.

Helpful extras

Have you shared details about this project elsewhere?

If yes, please explain where and how you have shared details of this project, and the effect, if any, this has had on your project
We need everyone in the NHS to hear about BOB. The more people know about this free service, the more impactful each story that staff write up becomes. So please tell your colleagues, your professional bodies, your organisation leadership that BOB is here to help the NHS for free. They can all get involved by telling and sharing stories. If you read a story on the site that you found useful, then share it into your professional networks.

Is there a process to embed this project in your organisation?

If yes, please provide details on the process itself and how it is being implemented.
We would encourage you to share BOB with your organisation leadership. We hope that it becomes a useful tool to capture the body of learning that staff are creating, at pace, in response to COVID-19.

Who is responsible for the ongoing management of this project during the response to COVID-19?
We are a core team of six people who are running BOB in the background for you. We will be reporting on our progress in social media, so give us a follow and our social channels, and we will keep you posted.

Final thoughts and acknowledgements
BOB thanks the dozen people in our team who worked hard to get this resource up and running. We took the collective decision to create this supportive tool on 17 March; it was online on 12 April.

Tell us why you are proud of this project.
We are proud to have worked with dedicated NHS staff, investing time in BOB to create a sharing hub the NHS deserves. Dr Jill Bailey, Oxford Health Improvement, part of Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, and her team have been tremendous collaborators. The tool and questions we ask were co-created with 21 NHS staff (volunteering in their own time). Thank you for this incredible contribution to your fellow NHS colleagues across the UK.

If you would like to be a Founding Contributor jump on BOB.health and get started - pass on your invaluable ideas and insights - they will help someone else working in the NHS in the middle of this emergency.

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